Inzy, Woolmer exude confidence about India tour

Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq and coach Bob Woolmer said their battle-hardened cricket team could do well in the forthcoming tour of India after learning from their Australia defeats.

"For me it was an interesting tour which gave us a chance to pick the men out from the boys," Woolmer Tuesday told AFP on the team's return from Australia.

Pakistan were whitewashed 3-0 in the Test series but beat Australia once and the West Indies twice to progress to the tri-series one-day finals, where they lost after two close encounters.

"We have got very strong team spirit and can make rapid progress from here because we have identified some strong players," said Woolmer, who played for England and also coached South Africa.

"We were a better side than some of the sides who lost 3-0 in Australia and gave the hosts tough fights in the Tests," Woolmer said.

"Overall it was a tough tour and we can capitalise on the lessons to do well in India," the coach said.

Pakistan will play three Tests and five one-day games on their first tour of India for six years starting later this month.

"India will be a different tour, but as they (India) benefitted from their tour of Australia in 2003 to beat Pakistan the following year, we can also make the best use of the Australian tour," said Woolmer.

Woolmer reiterated his belief that world champions Australia are beatable.

"There is no denying the fact that they are the premier side but they are beatable and if we keep perseverance and patience this team can beat Australia when they tour us in the next couple of years."

Inzamam, who has been criticised for his allegedly passive captaincy and for sitting out the last two Tests with an injury, said defeat was always difficult to deal with.

"Everyone hates losing and so do I," said Inzamam.

"But overall I am not disappointed. The tour has taught us some valuable lessons, and in the process of building the team brick by brick this can help a lot," he said.

"I have never been worried about my captaincy. Criticism comes when you lose but I am proud of this team, which did very well in the one-day tournament despite missing key bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami," Inzamam said.

He said the India tour would be different.

"The pitches in India will suit us more, as they are more helpful than in Australia and we are ready to put up our best, even if India plays a spinners-dominated team," he said.

Pakistan's players will reassemble for a short training camp in a week's time before leaving for India on February 25.

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