Budding England lack a spinner like Warne: Imran

Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Former Pakistan cricket great Imran Khan said he doubted England would ever emulate Australia's success and become the world's top team because they lacked a quality spinner like Shane Warne.

"England is a young emerging side and exudes the confidence of Australia but for them to emulate Australia-like success is difficult because they do not have a spinner of Warne's quality," Khan told newsmen on Friday.

Michael Vaughan's team closed the gap on world champions Australia when they regained the Ashes with a 2-1 victory on Monday, their first win over Australia since 1986-87.

Khan praised Vaughan and allrounder Andrew Flintoff for their roles in England's success."Flintoff is the pivot around which the England team revolves. He is a genuine allrounder," he said. In Vaughan, "England has a very determined sort of character as captain, quite unpretentious," he added.

Following the conquest of Australia, Vaughan said his side would only achieve the top rating if they beat Pakistan in the November-December series and India early next year. But Khan, who took 362 wickets in 88 Tests and led Pakistan to their first series win over England in 1987, said England would struggle on the sub-continent's slow pitches.

"They have a fast-maturing pace attack but when they come up on wickets which do not have support for pace then they do not have the variety like Warne provides," Khan said. Warne led the Australian Ashes attack with 40 wickets.

"I do not see them attaining the consistent success rate of Australia until they have a match-winning spinner," Khan said. But he also had reservations about Australia's future at the top, saying the side was on the decline because their players were ageing and the Ashes had shown that their batting could collapse under sustained pace pressure.

"Australia is on decline... the most notable thing of the Ashes was that Australian batting was exposed for the first time against a sustained pace attack. "The myth of Australian batting's invincibility was broken, except for one innings at Lord's when they did well after the England team was completely demoralised by a Glenn McGrath spell," said Khan.

Pacer Jason Gillespie's lack of form was also throwing the Australian attack out of balance, he said. Khan said Pakistan could match England's attack if they had fit bowlers but their batsmen need to improve their form."They need a fully fit Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami and Umer Gul, and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria in form, but for me the concern will be Pakistan's batting," he said.

Pakistan hosts England for three Tests and five one-day matches starting in Multan on November 12.

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