Woolmer out to spoil Lara's last Pakistan tour
by AFP

Player:BC Lara
Event:West Indies in Pakistan 2006/07

DateLine: 8th November 2006


Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer is out to spoil West Indies' skipper Brian Lara's last tour of the country by winning the upcoming Test series.


Woolmer recalled Wednesday how Lara joked with him before West Indies upstaged South Africa in the quarter-final of the 1996 World Cup in Karachi.


Woolmer was coach of the Proteas between 1994-99. He took on the Pakistan job in 2004.


"I remember Lara said 'sorry Bob this is my day' when West Indies had the better of us and I hope I can return the favour in the coming Test series," Woolmer told AFP.


"We would like to spoil his party but for that we have to play good cricket," said Woolmer ahead of the three-match series, which starts here on Saturday.


Lara Tuesday vowed to make his last tour of Pakistan, where he started his Test career, memorable.


Woolmer agreed with Lara that the absence of two key bowlers - Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif - would boost the tourists' chances. Akhtar is banned for two years and Asif for one year after both failed drug tests.


"Certainly I can understand where Brian coming from. Akhtar is one of the fastest bowlers and Asif is a very fine bowler and they have not played against them.


"Without (the) genuine pace of Akhtar and without Asif's terrific ability to make the ball move we will have to find bowlers to do the job. It would have been an advantage for us so, yes, it puts more pressure on our attack."


The 58-year-old coach said other bowlers would have to fill the void.


"We have to find different ways of taking wickets and finding ways to play Test cricket well so that we don't let West Indies in with a chance. It is not only about getting 20 wickets but it is also about getting (a) good total."


Woolmer said leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was an important part of Pakistan's plans.


"Kaneria has been our number one strike bowler but every bowler will have to chip in with wickets. Whoever plays (will) have to take wickets. Shahid Nazir had a terrific tour of England and left-armer Samiullah Niazi is impressive."


Pakistan have included uncapped Niazi, second leading wicket-taker in the past domestic season, in a 15-man squad for the first two Tests.


Woolmer, who refused to underrate the West Indies, admitted the tourists' poor record of one win in the past 14 Tests was pleasing.


"That is nice to know they have won only one Test, but I always say yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery and you can't always pick a statistic. It might mean they are probably due to win a Test now."


"West Indies have got some good players in Chris Gayle, Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan and other up and coming bowlers. We can't underestimate them at all."


The second Test is scheduled for Multan (November 19-23) and the third in Karachi (Nov 27-December 1). The Tests will be followed by five one-day internationals.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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