Pakistan pin hopes against Windies on the toss of a coin
by Pakistan Cricket Board

Ground:Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
Player:CH Gayle, BC Lara, Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamam-ul-Haq
Event:VB Series 2004/05

DateLine: 18th January 2005


Pakistan are pinning their hopes partly on winning the toss when they take on the West Indies in their tri-series limited-overs cricket match at Brisbane's Gabba ground on Wednesday.


Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq wants to bowl first so that pacemen Shoaib Akhtar, who has disappointed for much of the Australian tour, can make the most of the local conditions and put the West Indies on the back foot early on.


The match will start at 9 am and the forecast is for overcast and humid conditions -- ideal for fast bowlers working with a new white ball.


"The early start at nine o'clock ... any team would take the advantage and bowl first because I think there will be some moisture and it's a 20 or 25 per cent help if you win the toss," said Inzamam.


Both Pakistan and the West Indies lost their opening matches against Australia, even though Inzamam recovered some of the form which has deserted him on this tour with a run-a-ball 68 against the hosts in Hobart on Sunday.


Wednesday's clash could prove crucial in determining which of the two makes the best-of-three finals play-offs.


Shoaib, Pakistan's trump card, has done little on tour since bagging five first innings wickets in each of the Test losses to Australia in Perth and Melbourne.


His commitment has been questioned and his lengthy run-up criticised as the reason for his team's slow over-rate. He was belted for 54 runs off eight fruitless overs by the Australians in Hobart.


Pakistan are set to stick with the same 12 which lost by four wickets to Australia on Sunday but Inzamam hinted the top order was in for an overhaul.


Changes would start with the skipper himself and deputy Yousuf Youhana -- the team's two most experienced batsmen -- moving as high as three and four in the order.


West Indian skipper Brian Lara was more guarded about his plans, saying he would defer to new coach, Australian Bennett King, who spent three seasons in charge of the Queensland state team based at the Gabba.


Unlike Inzamam, King did not believe the early start automatically meant a team should choose to bowl first.


"The sun comes up pretty early and it can still be quite hot at 9 am," he said. "The wicket's generally a very good batting wicket."


The Windies are expected to go into the match with all-rounder Chris Gayle who has overcome inflamed tendons in his right shoulder. But he may be rested from bowling his off-spinners.


Teams (likely):


Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (c), Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Naved-ul-Hasan, Azhar Mahmood (12th man to be named).


West Indies: Brian Lara (c), Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Xavier Marshall, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Courtney Browne, Ian Bradshaw, Mervyn Dillon, Pedro Collins (12th man to be named).

(Article: Copyright © 2005 Pakistan Cricket Board)


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