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Inzamam confident of successful NZ tour

Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq on Wednesday expressed confidence that his team would maintain its winning streak in the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2003 15:12 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq on Wednesday expressed confidence that his team would maintain its winning streak in the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

"Playing in New Zealand under different conditions will not be easy, but my players have the capability and resolve to perform successfully," Inzamam told AFP as his players set off on the 40-day tour early on Thursday morning.

A young Pakistani side on a rebuilding track since the country's first round exit from the World Cup in March this year has shown signs of maturity, with home wins over Bangladesh and South Africa.

Pakistan also completed a 5-0 rout of an understrength New Zealand team without seven of its key players including regular captain Stephen Fleming in a one-day series which ended earlier this week.

"New Zealand will be back at full strength, but we have Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami and fast bowlers win matches in New Zealand," said the 33-year-old Inzamam on his first tour as captain.

Chris Cairns, who led the Black Caps' tour of Pakistan, has warned his opponents they will face a tough test in New Zealand despite injuries to ace pace bowler Shane Bond, opening batsman Nathan Astle and Fleming.

Pakistani openers Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed set a new world record of four century stands in successive one-day matches to finish as stars of the recent win over New Zealand.

"The way our openers have performed we are sure that our top order problems are solved, its now up to them and other batsmen to show grit in New Zealand," said Inzamam.

The captain dismissed the idea that Pakistans problematic last tour to New Zealand in 2001 would haunt his side.

Pakistan lost 3-2 in the one-day series and squared the three-match Test series 1-1 with current wicketkeeper Moin Khan as captain and former star batsman Javed Miandad as coach.

Shoaibs bowling action was reported as suspect during the one-day series, while experienced paceman Wasim Akram, opener Saeed Anwar and all-rounder Abdur Razzaq returned home mid-way through the tour due to injuries.

Sami, who took eight wickets on debut to lead Pakistans win in the first Test in Auckland, and skipper Moin had to sit out the Hamilton Test due to injuries and an Inzamam-led Pakistan side crashed to an innings defeat.

Worse, coach Miandad accused some players of throwing matches deliberately and was sacked on teams return.

"Its history and if there was anything bad in that we are no more bothered. Its a new beginning and we are on track of becoming a formidable side," the Pakistani captain said.

All-rounder Azhar Mahmood is accompanying the side as 17th player.

Squad: Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Saleem Elahi, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana (vice-captain), Inzamam ul-Haq (captain), Asim Kamal, Younis Khan, Moin Khan (wicketkeeper), Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Danish Kaneria, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Shabbir Ahmed, Umar Gul, Azhar Mahmood

Javed Miandad (coach), Haroon Rasheed (manager)

Tour programme:

Dec 14 3-day match Vs Auckland at Eden Park

Dec 19-23 1st Test Match at Westpac Park Hamilton

Dec 26-30 2nd Test Match at Basin Reserve Wellington

Jan 1 Warm-up match Vs Wellington at Basin Reserve

Jan 3 1st ODI at Eden Park, Auckland

Jan 7 2nd ODI at Queenstown Events Centre

Jan 10 3rd ODI at Jade Stadium Christchurch

Jan 14 4th ODI at McLean Park Napier

Jan 17 5th ODI at Westpac Stadium Wellington (D/N).

First Published: Dec 10, 2003 15:12 IST