Indian spinners will whitewash Pakistan: Nawaz

Published: Sunday, February 13, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Former pacer Sarfraz Nawaz said he feared India's spin bowlers would whitewash Pakistan in their upcoming cricket tour.

"India will spinroll Pakistan on their turning tracks because they play with three regular spinners, with Virendar Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar as two added tweakers and have the habit of finishing a Test in three days," Nawaz told AFP on Sunday.

"Pakistan's kitty is empty with just one spinner in Danish Kaneria, the other two spinners they have were reported for illegal action and if they go without Shoaib Akhtar it would be a 3-0 win for India."

Pakistan will play three Tests and five one-day games from February 25 to April 9 on their first tour of India for six years.

A final schedule is still awaited with a stalemate following Pakistan's refusal to play in the western city of Ahmedabad, the scene of a proposed venue for the second Test where at least 2,000 people died in Muslim-Hindu riots in 2002.

Nawaz said Pakistan's cricket hierarchy seemed indifferent to the all important tour.

"Pakistan is under pressure after their 3-0 defeat in Australia but it's surprising there seems no planning, no vision and no preparation for the India tour," Nawaz said.

He criticised coach Bob Woolmer, who is having knee surgery in South Africa, and the Pakistan trainers for going on holdiday ahead of the tour, and ridiculed skipper Inzaman-ul Haq for appearing in an Indian advertisement.

"How would foreigners be interested in Pakistan's progress, they would muster the wealth and go away.

"Our captain doesn't act on the field and is acting in Indian advertisement which is a mockery of the preparation and no one is bothered what they are doing."

Nawaz, acclaimed as the pioneer of reverse swing during a career of 55 Tests for Pakistan, taking 177 wickets, said only seamers could turn the tables on India.

"If Akhtar and (Mohammad) Sami are fit then we must select them and two more swing bowlers and only they can turn the tables on India because we have not produced quality spinners, no one had bothered to in the recent past," said Nawaz.

Pakistan won 1-0 on their 1987 tour with left arm spinner Iqbal Qasim and off-spinner Tauseef Ahmed sharing nine wickets between them in the Bangalore win.

On their last tour, Pakistan were helped by off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq who took 10 wickets to help the team win the first Test at Madras but after Pakistan lost in Delhi Akhtar took eight wickets to help Pakistan win the Calcutta Test.

Saqlain Mushtaq, who lost his place in the team last year, is recuperating from knee surgeries and is not ready for a comeback.

Nawaz said India without an injured Sachin Tendulkar would still be strong.

"Tendulkar would not be missed if he doesn't play because their real star is Rahul Dravid and other batsmen are capable enough to guide India to big totals," he said.

Pakistan are likely to announce the India tour squad on Friday.

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