Woolmer promises England run for their money

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer says doubts over his team's ability to perform in England will only spur his players on.

Pakistan will tour England from the last week of June, playing four Tests and five One-day internationals. Pakistan beat England 2-0 at home last winter and drew the series the last time they played Tests on English soil in 2001.

''We know it is not going to be easy playing England in their backyard. But we will give them a run for their money,'' Woolmer told Reuters in an interview yesterday.

''It will be a tough series. There is no doubt that injuries to their key players has been upsetting for them and affected their performances,'' he added.

England have been without captain Michael Vaughan, fast bowlers Steve Harmison and Simon Jones and spinner Ashley Giles for the last few months. They have won only two of nine Tests since their Ashes triumph last year.

''I think they will see this series as a tough one before the Ashes and before you tour Australia you need to play hard matches,'' said Woolmer.

He confirmed allrounder Shoaib Malik would continue to open in England.

''He has been successful and ....we need our best players up front in English conditions where the ball does a bit.'' Malik has played the role of opener since last year and in his last Test against Sri Lanka in March he scored a match-saving century.

Pakistan have hired South African Jonty Rhodes to assist them in improving their fielding standards for the England tour and Woolmer was confident he would help improve in that department.

''By hiring Rhodes we are acknowledging that there is room for improvement in fielding in the team,'' Woolmer said.

Rhodes, who played 52 Tests and 245 One-day internationals between 1992 and 2000, arrives in Lahore on June 10 where Pakistan will be preparing for the England tour.

''He plans to work with a group of four at one time. Once he goes we will continue the drills he has given us,'' Woolmer said.

''His enthusiasm and success as a fielder should rub off on us.

His technical excellence will help our players deal with the pressure.''

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