Inzamam swansong can distract Pak: Smith

Published: Saturday, October 6, 2007, 15:07 [IST]
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Lahore: South African captain Graeme Smith said Inzamam-ul-Haq's swansong in international cricket could distract Pakistan in their must-win second Test starting in Lahore on Monday.

The tourists are 1-0 up in the two-match series after convincingly beating Pakistan on Friday in Karachi by 160 runs despite a pitch that was tailor-made for the home spinners.

The two teams line up for the final Test with Pakistan bolstered by the inclusion of former skipper Inzamam and keen to square the series.

The 37-year-old batsman has announced he will retire from Test cricket and the Lahore Test will be his last.

"It certainly can be I guess," Smith said, when asked if Pakistan's young captain, Shoaib Malik, could be distracted by having his predecessor in the team.

"They have a young captain and how he is going to manage that is going to be key for him. It can put a lot of pressure on him," said Smith.

"Inzamam carries a huge aura around him in this set-up, which I have noticed playing against Pakistan in the last two years.

"It will be key how he (Malik) handles it," said Smith, under whom South Africa lost a two-match series in Pakistan four years ago.

Pakistan also hope ace batsman Mohammad Yousuf will return to the side after pulling out of the first Test at the last minute, citing lack of match fitness.

Smith said how Inzamam and Yousuf fit into Pakistan's squad will be crucial to the outcome of the match.

"Their records are world class, but how they fit back into the set-up is a question mark, how much cricket they have played is another question and what is happening to the pitch in Lahore is going to be another issue," he said.

"But it's for them to worry. We need to go from strength to strength and we have given ourselves a wonderful opportunity to win a series in the subcontinent," said Smith, whose country won a three-Test series here 1-0 in 1997.

Jacques Kallis set up South Africa's win in Karachi with back-to-back centuries, while paceman Dale Steyn took five wickets on the final day.

South African left-arm spinner Paul Harris took seven wickets in the match.

The tourists dropped veteran all-rounder Shaun Pollock for the first time in his 107-Test career for the match, despite rookie paceman Morne Morkel having to return home after fracturing his foot.

Smith said Pollock will be up for selection in the second Test.

Pakistan are likely to make at least three changes for the second Test.

Malik said the team will do its best to level the series.

"We batted poorly in the first Test but with Inzamam and Yousuf coming in the side I hope our batting will be very strong. This is our chance to square the series and we will do our best to do that," said Malik.


South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher (wk), AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince and Dale Steyn

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal (wk), Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Abdul Rehman, Rao Iftikhar and Danish Kaneria

Match Officials: Umpires: Simon Taufel (Aus), Mark Benson (Eng) and Third umpire: Nadeem Ghouri (Pak). Match referee: Alan Hurst (Aus).


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