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Inzy confident of Pakistan~~s prospects in England

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Karachi:Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is confident his team can maintain its fine record in England despite losing pace bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Rana Naved to injury.

Pakistan, who have not lost a series in England since 1987, leave on Sunday for four Tests, a Twenty20 Cup match and five One-day internationals.

Shoaib is not in the squad due to an ankle stress fracture while Rana will know next week if a groin injury will keep him out of the entire series.

''These injuries have come as a setback because both would be very effective in English conditions,'' Inzamam told Reuters.

''Watching Sri Lanka come back strongly against England I think we have a good chance of repeating our past performances.'' Sri Lanka drew their three-Test series in England 1-1 and lead 2-0 in the five One-dayers. They had lost at home to Pakistan in March-April.

''Sri Lanka have played very well to beat England, who I think are passing a Testing period due to fitness problems and inconsistent results since their Ashes win last year,'' Inzamam said.

''We will have to emulate the Lankans to beat England. We must try to take advantage of England's struggling form,'' he said.

The England tour is seen as a big Test for the 36-year-old Inzamam, who has struggled with a back injury after a career spanning 109 Tests and 361 One-dayers.

Success in England would guarantee him the captaincy for next year's World Cup amid Pakistan's volatile cricket scene, which has stabilised greatly under board Chairman Shaharyar Khan.

For a team that has had ten different coaches and eight captains since 1995, Inzamam remaining captain since 2003 is seen as a remarkable reign.

Since the appointment of Bob Woolmer as coach in June 2004, the team has also grown in strength and consistency.

Inzamam said Pakistan would stick to the same policy of consistency in the team in the coming series.

''That has been our strength. We have depth in the team. The guys have stood up and taken responsibility well.'' Pakistan beat England at home last winter but Inzamam said that result did not matter now.

''We are closely watching England's current form that is what is important.'' Pakistan is also looking at the option of playing experienced leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed in the Tests which open at Lord's on July 13.

Inzamam said Mushtaq, who had been in splendid form for Sussex, remained a strong option but no final decision had been taken on him as yet.

Pakistan squad: Inzamam-ul-Haq, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Faisal Iqbal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Shahid Nazir, Danish Kaneria.

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