Inzamam unfazed by poor preparation for India Tests
by AFP

Ground:Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharmasala
Player:Inzamam-ul-Haq, Asim Kamal, Abdul Razzaq
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 6th March 2005


Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq remained confident ahead of the first Test with India despite seeing his team's only warm-up match washed out by rain.


Bad weather continually disrupted the three-day match against a Board President's XI in Dharamshala, which was eventually abandoned with less than an innings played.


"It would have been nice had we got a full match because every team needs practice before a Test, but I am confident it won't affect us much as our boys are coming after playing first-class cricket back home," Inzamam told AFP ahead of Tuesday's Test.


"True, the match atmosphere is different and we would have liked more batting and bowling practice, but I am sure the boys will get in the right groove for the Test," he said on Sunday.


Pakistan batted just once in the three-day game, scoring 273. But their bowling preparations were severely affected as they sent down only 34 overs.


Inzamam said his batsmen still had a chance to give a good account of themselves but failed to cash in on it.


"We should have made 400 or 500 because you need to score big in practice matches and I hope my batsmen will show more responsibility in the Test series," he said.


The Pakistani captain pinned his hopes on his openers, saying his team needed a solid start to boost their chances of posting a big total.


"We didn't get a good start (in the practice game) and that put more pressure on the middle-order. Asim Kamal, Abdul Razzaq and myself had good outings in the middle but I still expected more."


The tourists also faced off-field problems as they had to squeeze into two planes to reach and leave the venue at Dharamshala, which is served by a tiny airport.


The matter was raised by manager Saleem Altaf but Inzamam played down the problems.


"It was not an ideal place to hold cricket matches but the people and their warm reception helped us forget everything," said Inzamam, whose 35th birthday was celebrated at the ground on Thursday.


Hundreds of fans wished the Pakistani captain a happy birthday and the local Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association cut a cake at the ground.


"I have never celebrated a birthday with such fanfare. I cut six cakes. I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the people," said Inzamam.


Pakistan will play three Tests and six one-day internationals on their first tour of India in six years.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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