Speed isn't everything, Inzamam tells Shoaib
by AFP

Ground:Bellerive Oval, Hobart
Player:B Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamam-ul-Haq
Event:VB Series 2004/05

DateLine: 15th January 2005


The world's two fastest bowlers will meet head-on in Hobart on Friday but Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar has been warned by his skipper not to get caught up in a pace race with Australian Brett Lee.


The two speedsters will spearhead the attacks for their respective countries when they meet in the second tri-series one-day cricket game at Bellerive Oval - Australia crushed the West Indies by 116 runs in the opening fixture in Melbourne on Friday.


But Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, himself reportedly under pressure for a lack of leadership, has made his feelings clear to Shoaib about what his priorities must be.


While he conceded a Lee-Shoaib showdown was an exciting prospect, Inzamam urged the Pakistani star to remember his rhythm on what is likely to be a good batting wicket.


"His main thing is to concentrate on line and length and how he performs, and not his competition on speed," Inzamam said.


"It's not a game of speed, he's (Shoaib) definitely the world's fastest bowler, but the main thing is line, length and swing."


Shoaib bowled the fastest delivery ever recorded at 161 kilometres per hour (100 miles per hour) in the third Test against New Zealand in Lahore in April, 2002.


For his part, Lee, who bowled at speeds of 150 kilometres per hour (94 miles per hour) in his brilliant 3-36 spell on return to the national team against the West Indies on Friday, said he knew Shoaib could not resist the temptation to bowl as quickly as possible.


"I was watching (some) of that Twenty20 match in Adelaide and Shoaib bowled a couple of real quick 130, 140, 150 kilometre-per-hour outswingers, which got Brad Haddin out," he said.


"I think when the crowd gets there tomorrow and he's pretty fired up I'm sure he'll be steaming ahead.


"There is always talk when myself and Shoaib get the chance to play against each other.


"But the most important thing I've said time and time again is, it's not just speed, it's about taking wickets and doing well for your team."


Shoaib will also need to play a big part if Pakistan is to get through their overs in time after the tourists' slow over rate meant Australia A was awarded six bonus runs in Thursday's Twenty20 match in Adelaide.


Inzamam admitted Shoaib's long run-up made it hard for his fellow bowlers to get through their overs quickly, but the skipper was confident his side could make up the time lost over 50 overs to avoid match fines.


The Pakistan line-up remains unsettled and a final team will not be named until just before Sunday's match.


The tourists have tested 15 players in last week's two matches against Australia A and have a constantly changing batting order.


Youngster Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed opened in the 50-over match against Australia A while Yasir and Taufeeq Umar opened in the Twenty20 clash.


Pakistan has also struggled to find the right balance in its bowling line-up with allrounders Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood.


Offspinning allrounder Shoaib Malik could also play, but only as a batsman because of a bowling action deemed flawed by the International Cricket Council.


But Inzamam was confident his side could bounce back from the 3-0 Test series drubbing it suffered against Australia.


"The boys are really geared up and they've really worked hard and hopefully if we put some runs on the board and our bowling is also very effective ... if we make 260, 270 runs, I think it will be a good game," he said.


The laid-back 34-year-old also said he was comfortable in the role as captain.


"It's not my decision, it's the board's decision, but we're ... only thinking on this series," he said.


"I'm comfortable with the captaincy and I wish to continue."


For Australia, opener Matthew Hayden will again be rested while his partner Adam Gilchrist will miss the match with a niggling knee injury.


His role as wicket-keeper will be taken by Australia A captain Brad Haddin.


Australia will also be without pace bowler Jason Gillespie who has a calf strain.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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