Pakistan need to lift their game, says captain Inzamam
by AFP

Ground:Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Scorecard:Pakistan v West Indies
Player:Inzamam-ul-Haq, BC Lara
Event:VB Series 2004/05

DateLine: 27th January 2005


Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said that his team would need a dramatic reversal of form if they were to give Australia a decent challenge in the tri-series competition.


Pakistan face the West Indies in a crucial match at the Adelaide Oval on Friday and were favourites to join Australia in the best-of-three finals series.


Unbeaten Australia have already qualified for the finals while Pakistan, with just one win, have not confirmed their place, although they are two points ahead of the West Indies on the qualifying table.


Inzamam said Pakistan needed to beat the Windies on Friday then win their remaining two qualifying matches in Perth to ensure they went into the finals with the confidence needed to beat the host nation.


"If we are through to the finals we need some victories, because the last couple of months, the last two months, we are not playing good cricket," Inzamam said on Thursday.


"If we win, then winning is I think a habit and we will continue this, that's what will help in the finals.


"If we reach the finals, it is very important for us to win a victory against Australia before that."


Inzamam estimated Pakistan was still 20-30 percent below playing its best cricket.


He said that was largely due to the absence of injured pace trio Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami and Shabbir Ahmed, and also to spinner Shoaib Malik's being ruled out with a suspect action.


The captain, himself under pressure in his current role, also noted that his side's fielding had been poor.


But he said a long batting line-up, including all-rounders Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Hafeez, could give Pakistan the edge over the West Indies on Friday.


West Indian skipper Brian Lara disagreed, saying his side had the better bowling attack.


"I think we're bowling better, we've got wicket-takers," Lara said.


"On a couple of occasions in the three matches we've played against Australia we had them four wickets down for little runs.


"But I think overall both teams will have to improve to beat Australia, whoever meets them in the finals."


Left-arm swing bowler Pedro Collins has been the standout for the West Indies in their past two matches, taking 5-43 against Australia in Adelaide on Wednesday following his 3-8 against the world champions in Brisbane last week.


Although the West Indies are winless so far, Lara said his team was confident they could overcome Pakistan on Friday and again in Perth on Tuesday to make the finals.


"We're looking forward to the two games, it's a do-or-die situation, we have to win both, I'm sure that the guys are going to be up to it," he said.


The Windies' biggest concern is Lara's bruised wrist, which he has played with since being struck in the opening game of the series, against Australia in Melbourne.


Lara said the injury was preventing him from training, but he expected to play in the remaining matches.


West Indies (from): Brian Lara (capt), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Christopher Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Ryan Hinds, Courtney Browne, Ian Bradshaw, Pedro Collins, Mervyn Dillon, Reon King, Xavier Marshall.


Pakistan (from): Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Salman Butt, Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Hafeez, Yousuf Youhana, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Kamran Akmal, Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Khalil, Iftikhar Anjum.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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