Doubt Pakistan at your peril, says Inzamam

Published: Saturday, November 3, 2007, 17:00 [IST]
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New Delhi: Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-Ul-Haq is of the view that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar can turn out to be dangerous for India ''only if he is fit and plays.''

''Agar woh (Shoaib) khel gayee to Bharat Ke liye mushqil ho sakti hai (Only if he plays India would be in difficulty),'' Inzamam said tonuge-in-cheek.

Inzamam, who is here as a television expert for the India- Pakistan series, told a crowded press conference here this afternoon that it would be wrong for the hosts to underestimate the new-look Pakistan team.

''It is difficult to say who will have the upper hand in the series because no team can be called weak nowadays especially in the one-day cricket. I think all teams are balanced,'' he said.

He recalled that when he led Pakistan team here in 2005 that time several experts had called it as one of the weakest teams ''but we performed very well''.

Inzamam, however, admitted that present Pakistan team is short in experience but "I am confident they will be able to cope up and do well in this high pressure series."

Asked if the visitors will feel the absence of fast bowler Mohd Asif, Inzy said, ''Well Asif is a good bowler but because of injury he has not travelled with the team but with Shoaib, Umar Gul and Rao Ifthikhar in the side I think they will be able to fill the gap.''

The former Pakistan captain said he was surprised at the dropping of Rahul Dravid whom he described as an experience batsmen. ''In a high pressure series like this, you always look upto experienced players because they know how to handle the pressure.''

He also saw nothing wrong in players adopting aggressive stance on the field provided ''it is within limits''. ''It is good, because players want to put their rivals under pressure,'' he said and added ''aggression should not lead to tension on or off the field''.

He did not approve of the talk about asking senior players to retire, saying ''There is no such age limit for retirement. It depends on player's fitness and involvement. I think players like Sachin, Sourav and Dravid have still lot in them to continue playing.''

Inzamam agreed that by virtue of frequent interaction between the two teams - India and Pakistan - there is no virtually no tension on or off the field. ''Yes, the high voltage pressure is not there now, but still India-Pakistan series has its own uniquness and charm.''

He had a word of praise for Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik, saying, ''He is young, aggressive and postive in his approach. He will gain experience with each outing.'' Why captains are changed so frequently in Pakistan, was one question and Inzamam shot back'' "Why captains, even board (cricket) changes frequently there.''

Asked which league he is going to play as his name figures both in ICL and IPL, Inzamam just laughed it away saying, ''I want to play in both the leagues.'' He thanked Pakistan players who had reportedly said that they miss him.

''I am thankful to those players, I also miss them but this is how life is. It has to go on.'' Inzamam was of the view that ICC tend to be a bit harsh on players from the sub-continent.

''I am not saying that ICC is against the sub-continent players but their attitude is harsh compared to the way they deal with other teams.''


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