Pakistan and West Indies both looking for points in first encounter
by AFP

Ground:Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
Scorecard:Pakistan v West Indies
Player:Shahid Afridi, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, CH Gayle, S Chanderpaul
Event:VB Series 2004/05

DateLine: 18th January 2005


Big-hitting Shahid Afridi, who set Pakistan's innings ablaze in their match against Australia, won't be moved up the batting order for Wednesday's tri-series limited overs clash with the West Indies.


Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said Monday that Pakistan would resist the temptation to use Afridi as an opener -- despite having major problems in the position -- and would continue to use him late in the innings.


"He started as an opener and I think he has played (almost 140) games in one-dayers as an opener," Inzamam said on Monday.


"But in the last couple of months he has been batting at number eight or number nine and did well ... I think that is his number."


Afridi belted 56 not out from just 26 deliveries in their four-wicket loss to Australia on Sunday even though he was only brought in at number eight with only six overs and one ball remaining.


Australian captain Ricky Ponting later admitted it was difficult to contain the 24-year-old unless the bowling was spot on.


Afridi's knock, which included four sixes, was the first time he had passed 50 against Australia, although it was not the fastest innings in his 192-match career. He struck a century from 37 balls deliveries in his second one-day international as a 16-year-old, as well as another 18-ball fifty.


Despite their reluctance to promote Afridi, Pakistan will consider moving senior batsmen Inzamam and Yousuf Youhana up a rung for the match against the West Indies after they batted at number five and six respectively on Sunday.


Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal is set to be given another chance to open despite being dismissed for five against Australia. "We have a problem in the top order and we try everything to be settled there," Inzamam said.


"(Akmal) is a middle order batsman (in Tests), but in first-class cricket he's playing as an opener, and in the one-day games that's where we will try him."


For the West Indies there was unexpected good news on Monday when big-hitting opener Chris Gayle seemed set to shrug off a shoulder injury in time to play in the match at Brisbane's Gabba ground.


Gayle completed a three-hour training session in Brisbane on Monday, batting with some slight pain in the nets but without any major problem. The all-rounder also took part in fielding drills but his throwing was hampered by the inflamed tendons which he suffered in Friday's 116-run loss to Australia in Melbourne.


Gayle is a key figure at the top of the West Indian batting line-up and his battle against Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar should be intriguing. "(Gayle) still has some pain in the right shoulder but he's being monitored," a West Indian team spokesman said.


"The physio is still very hopeful that he will play against Pakistan."


West Indian vice captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul also held out hope Gayle could send down his nagging off-spinners that often prove difficult to score off late in the innings.


Chanderpaul said it was up to the Windies top-order to get off to a better start after slumping to 33 for four before being bowled out for 185 against Australia. He believed a solid platform against the new ball would allow them to put the pressure back on Shoaib.


Left-arm quick Pedro Collins has also been given the green light to return from a thigh strain and will be considered as a bowling replacement.


Both teams will be chasing their first points in the series after losses against Australia.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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