Shoaib too hot for Indians: Inzi
Last time Shoaib was too hot to handle for Inzamam, but this time the skipper is all praise for his speedster.india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 01:28 IST
Ahead of the Indian team's arrival in Pakistan on Thursday for the Test and one-day series, home captain Inzamam-ul Haq sounded a warning to the visitors that they would find paceman Shoaib Akhtar "too hot to handle".
It will be a battle between Indian batsmen and Pakistani bowlers, the veteran Pakistani batsman told PTI in Karachi.
Inzamam unveiled his strategy against the top-line Indian batting, saying his bowlers needed to get opener Virender Sehwag early because he can destroy any bowling attack thereafter. He fancied his chances against Sachin Tendulkar and said the Pakistani bowlers can restrict him.
The burly Pakistani skipper still feels that Indians were the favourites although he was pleased to hear that Pakistani were being billed as such.
"I know the Indian batsmen have not done as well as they should have in the recent past. But we cannot ignore their track record which is of the highest class. Similarly, Pakistan bowling, especially the fast bowling attack, will not be the same as the Indians faced in 2004 and I am sure the Indians would have realised it after last year's series," Inzamam said.
It's heart-warming to read and pleasing to hear that Pakistan is billed as series favourite, but I still believe that India will start as favourite for the simple reason that they have experienced, matured and proven cricketers," said Inzamam who scored 1,000 runs in eight Tests last year.
A veteran of 105 Tests and 351 one-day internationals, Inzamam said Pakistan had been unfortunate that, except for the series against England, it had not played with its best bowlers.
"In 2004, Shoaib was struggling and so was Mohammad Sami. Then Umar Gul broke down in Lahore. So, if you analyse our last two years, you will know that we have not played with our best fast bowlers.
"The only time we played with them was against England (late last year) and we convincingly beat them although Shabbir Ahmed had to sit out. Shoaib Akhtar is probably the most improved bowler in terms of fitness, approach, attitude and discipline. He has inspired the other fast bowlers to do even better.
"Not necessarily that Shoaib would always take a fiver, but his aggressive bowling allows the bowler from the other end to pick wickets," said Inzamam.