Pakistan can edge out India with fast bowlers: Imran

Published: Friday, February 11, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Former cricket great Imran Khan said Pakistani fast bowlers could edge out hosts India in the forthcoming series between the two South Asian arch rivals this month.

"Pakistan must depend on pace, because it's pace which can earn Pakistan a win in India, not spin. The world's best spinner Shane Warne of Australia has been a failure in India," Khan told reporters on Friday.

Pakistan are to play three Tests and five One-day games in India on their first tour in six years starting February 25, once both countries have resolved a row over playing a match in the volatile city of Ahmedabad.

Indian batting is more adept against spinners, said Khan, who led Pakistan during their first series win in India in 1987.

"India has a strong batting line-up and they are very strong against spin so as in our last series in India in 1999 we must depend on fast bowlers," he said.

"I would like to see Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami firing all cylinders."

Pakistan is likely to announce the squad on February 18 but a big question mark hangs over Akhtar's fitness and the form of Sami.

Sami had to return home after the second Test in Australia in early January and has since regained fitness, but has been suffering a lack of form.

Akhtar is still recuperating from a hamstring injury which forced him to return home from Australia late last month and also faces disciplinary action on charges of going to discos while on tour.

A final decision on Akhtar's disciplinary hearing is likely next week.

Khan said Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq had to inspire the team and make it mentally strong.

"I criticised Inzamam for not playing the two Tests in Australia because for me it was strange for a batsman to sit out and now he needs to inspire the team from the front."

Khan said Pakistan must learn from their mistakes during Australia's tour last month, where they lost all three Tests and both finals of this month's tri-series one-day tournament.

"I hope the Pakistan team is mature enough and will learn from their mistakes on the Australian tour," said Khan, who is now a member of national parliament.

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