|Player:||Imran Khan, Mohammad Sami|
|Event:||India in Pakistan 2005/06|
DateLine: 6th January 2006
Former cricket great Imran Khan said on Friday he hoped that Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Sami would achieve his true potential to help his team beat India in the forthcoming series.
The 53-year-old Khan, now a member of the country's parliament, had a pep talk with Sami and with other members of the Pakistan team during a net session at the cricket Academy ground here.
The 24-year-old Sami -- the tearaway bowler who took an eight-wicket haul on his debut tour in New Zealand five years ago -- had so far not acheived what he was capable of at international level, Khan said.
"If Sami fires with Shoaib Akhtar and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan then Pakistan have a good chance of beating India," Khan told AFP.
The former all-rounder said he passed three basic tips to Sami and hoped the young fast bowler would learn fast.
"Sami needs to focus on what side he should bowl, and needs to improve his physical and mental abilities, and that will establish him as another match winner like Akhtar," said Khan, who played 82 Tests for Pakistan.
Sami said he was delighted to get a lesson from his childhood idol.
"I visited Khan's house last month and he promised to give me some good tips and today he fulfilled his promise. I will do my best to learn and adopt the tips he passed to me," Sami said.
Khan said Pakistan's pace attack was the home team's principal advantage over India.
"This is the best time of the year for the fast bowlers because they can bowl long spells in winter," said Khan, regarded as one of the top allrounders ever.
He also suggested Pakistan prepare hard tracks to make the most of in-form Akhtar.
"Akhtar has been a transformed bowler and won Pakistan the series against England. If he gets hard tracks he can come good again because there will be a lot of winter moisture for fast bowlers on the pitch."
Akhtar took 17 wickets in Pakistan's 2-0 Test series triumph over Ashes-winners England last month.
Khan said that in beating England, Pakistan had defeated tougher opponents than India, who recently beat Sri Lanka at home.
"It promises to be a very tough series but I think Pakistan have the edge. Besides their pace attack they have beaten Ashes-winning England and Inzamam is firing both as a good captain and as an ace batsman," said Khan.
He said Indian captain Rahul Dravid had also earned respect as a leader.
"Dravid is a good batsman and he has got the respect of his team, which is the key to the success of a captain," said Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup title in 1992.
India opens their tour with a three-day match from Saturday. The first Test starts here from January 13.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)