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India favourites in coming series: Inzy

Home advantage and Pakistan's recent series win over England would count for little, says Inzamam.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 00:29 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Pakistani skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq on Sunday tipped India as favourites in the forthcoming Test series, saying a home advantage and Pakistan's recent series win over England would count for little.

"We will need to work extra hard. For me, India will be favourites in the series," Inzamam told reporters ahead of the three Tests and five one-dayers -- the third series between the arch rivals in two years.

India arrive on January 5 and start the tour with a three-day side match against Pakistan 'A' on January 7. A final tour itinerary is likely to be released on Monday.

Inzamam said the victory over England would not be of great help.

England came to Pakistan on the back of their September Ashes triumph, their first in 18 years, but lost the three-Test series 2-0 and the one-day series 3-2.

"The win against England is a thing of the past now, and since there is not much difference in pitches and other things in India and Pakistan, there will be no home advantage," said Inzamam.

Inzamam, who was in top form with 431 runs against England in three Tests, said India have an experienced squad.

"India has a strong batting line up and with Sourav Ganguly's return it has further strengthened. Although Rahul Dravid does not have experience as a captain he is a wise batsman and will mature as captain."

The Pakistan captain, however, said histeam have an edge in fast bowling.

"Our fast bowlers did well against England and in that department we have an edge over India. I think my quicks have the ability to help us beat India," said Inzamam.

Express paceman Shoaib Akhtar took 17 wickets in Tests against England and with his changed attitude and resolve looked a transformed bowler. Pakistan also have Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and fit-again Umer Gul.

Inzamam said Pakistan match India in the spin department.

"We are not weak in the spin department because we have Danish Kaneria, Arshad Khan, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi so we can match India who have Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh," he said.

The Pakistan skipper said he wants pitches to assist his pace bowlers.

"I am thankful to Wasim Akram for advising us to prepare hard pitches keeping in view the good form of our bowlers in the series against England," said Inzamam, who will meet groundsmen on Monday to devise a strategy.

He disagreed that Pakistan rely heavily on him in batting and Akhtar in bowling.

"Salman Butt, Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal have batted well in recent matches, so has Afridi and in bowling we also have Naved, Kaneria and others who have done well."

First Published: Jan 01, 2006 18:16 IST