Confident England posing a threat for Pakistan: Wasim

Published: Monday, September 12, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:England are a very dangerous side at the moment and Pakistan might struggle against them in the upcoming home series, according to former Pakistan captain and legendary left-arm fast bowler of his era Wasim Akram.

"England have been playing good cricket these days and they will be coming to Pakistan high on confidence after a big Ashes series," Wasim told on Sunday.

"Pakistan, I feel, still would start as firm favourites with three quality spinners, two of them Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik being top-class all-rounders and pacer Shoaib Akhtar coming back into the side, something which will tilt the scale in their favour," he noted, adding, "But they will have to work very hard to challenge England."

"Pakistan, under coach Bob Woolmer, is a different side. They are much more mentally strong and that matters," said Wasim, who was in Dubai for a private visit.

Wasim rejected the notion that England, whose tour begins on October 26, might be exhausted after the nerve-racking Ashes series against Australia. "I don't think it will be the case. They will have a rest before coming to Pakistan and also players these days are very professional and have a high-level of fitness," he emphasised.

Paying tribute to England's four-man pace attack, Wasim said they all knew how to reverse swing the ball at good speed. "I don't think their pacers will struggle in Pakistan since the weather will be cold and nice.

In winters we have only 83 overs in Punjab and so that will matter. England will cope well with conditions there, and Pakistan will have to play out of their skins to do well," he stated. "The current Ashes series has shown that England are getting very close to finishing the matches. They are getting the extra edge in general," he noticed.

Wasim added that if Pakistan beat England, then India, who are due to play in Pakistan in January, would have a tough time. "But it will all depend how the England series shapes up."

He also felt change was needed in Indian cricket. "I think the time has come to change the Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. I backed Sourav before their tour of Zimbabwe but he looked pretty ordinary out there. He should be replaced with his deputy Rahul Dravid. "I'm talking about this purely on a cricketing point, nothing personal," Wasim expressed.

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