Posted: 09 July 2005 at 1:18pm | IP Logged
Ashes an opportunity to gauge England - Inzy
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said that England's performance in the Ashes would given him an idea of how his team should prepare for the home series against England later this year. "I am anxiously waiting for the Ashes to begin," Inzamam told AFP. "England playing Australia will give us a chance to gauge England's weak and strong points before we play them in three months' time."
Inzamam admitted that England had improved tremendously over the last year, and expected them to challenge Australia's dominance during the five-Test series. "They [England] have improved a lot and would give Australia a tough fight in the Ashes and we have to keep a close look on them if we want to achieve better results against them," he said. "I believe that my young team can improve if we play with tough teams like England. We lost badly to Australia earlier this year but we fared better against India and the West Indies later."
The last time England toured Pakistan, in 2000-01, Nasser Hussain led them to a famous 1-0 win, with the all-important win coming in near darkness at Karachi. It was the first time Pakistan had lost a home series to England since 1961-62, and the Pakistan media later blamed the defeat on Pakistan's strategy of packing the team with spinners. Inzamam indicated that they wouldn't repeat that mistake this time around.
"I don't believe in packing the team with spinners. Fast bowlers have been our strength and if they are fully fit I will go with the fast bowlers," he said. "Currently fitness of fast bowlers is our main worry but I hope they all get fit in three months to give us the best arsenal against England."
Mohammad Sami and Shoaib Akhtar both missed the tour to the West Indies due to fitness concerns. Shabbir Ahmed, who did play the series, was reported for a suspect action and is awaiting a final verdict on the matter from the ICC.
Meanwhile, the itinerary for the series is likely to be finalised later this week after an ECB team visited various venues in Pakistan to check the security measures. The ECB has expressed its concern about playing a Test in Karachi due to sectarian violence in that city, but might agree to play a one-dayer there.