We must beware England backlash: Woolmer

Published: Friday, June 9, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer wants his players to be ready for a backlash from injury-hit England following their frustrating Test series against Sri Lanka.

''Obviously England would be disappointed with their drawn Test series with Sri Lanka and injuries to key players like Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones,'' Woolmer told Reuters today.

''But they have fierce determination to put things right against us and prove a point before their Ashes tour. We have to play out of our skins to win in England.'' Pakistan play the first of four Tests and five One-day internationals at Lord's starting on July 13.

Flintoff, who captained England in the Test series against Sri Lanka, has been advised to rest an ankle injury for four weeks.

England have also lost fast bowler Jones to a knee injury and captain Michael Vaughan has just resumed playing after a knee problem.

Opener Andrew Strauss will lead the side in the One-day series against the Lankans.

''England's show against Sri Lanka means nothing for us. It is not our divine right to win and we will have to play very well to beat them. Winning in England is never easy,'' Woolmer said.

Pakistan announced their touring party yesterday, omitting fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who has been ruled out for six weeks with an ankle injury.

''I think the writing was on the wall for us as far as his injury is concerned and we have to play without his pace,'' Woolmer said.

''However, we have played without him in the past and managed. It is a good opportunity for others to be counted.'' Pakistan have recalled seamer Shahid Nazir in place of Shoaib although he has not played for his country since 1999.

Woolmer, a former England player, declined to comment on leg spinner Danish Kaneria's likely role in the series.

''I really don't know how he will fare,'' he said. ''But he is an improving bowler and has played a lot in England for Essex.

''The interest in cricket in Pakistan is unrivalled and people expect us to do well in every series.

Woolmer said his players were soccer fans and were looking forward to the World Cup.

''I just hope it does not become a distraction for them in their preparations for the Test series,'' he said.

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