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Weather may queer Pakistan's pitch

Inzamam wants hard and bouncy tracks to test the Indian batting.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 19:48 IST

Wet and foggy weather may wreck Pakistan's plan to prepare hard pitches during this month's home cricket series against rival India, Pakistan's chief curator said in Lahore on Tuesday.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had asked the authorities to prepare bouncy tracks during the the January 5-February 6 series, to make use of Pakistan's strong pace attack against a formidable Indian batting line-up.

"We are trying our level best but the foggy weather and wet conditions are not ideal for bouncy tracks, because a pitch takes time to dry," said curator Agha Zahid.

The Pakistani cities of Lahore and Faisalabad, where the first two Tests are being held, have been in the grip of extremely damp weather but the meteorological department said conditions would improve later this week.

"We need three days of sunshine to dry the pitch. It would be a problem in Lahore and Faisalabad, but the clear weather in Karachi will help us prepare a suitable pitch," Zahid said.

The Indian team arrive here on Thursday and will start the first of three Tests on January 13 at the Qaddafi stadium in Lahore, on their second tour across the border in two years.

India lifted a four-year ban on bilateral cricket which paved way for their team's tour to Pakistan in 2004, the first since 1989-90.

Pakistan employed English curator Andy Atkinson to prepare pitches during the last Indian tour, but the home team lost the three-Test series 2-1 and the preceeding one-day series 3-2.

The pitches for the series against England, which were laid by Zahid after he replaced Atkinson, helped Pakistan beat the tourists 2-0 in the Tests and 3-2 in the one-day series last month.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar took 17 wickets while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria grabbed 11 wickets as both extracted bounce out of the three tracks.

Zahid said Pakistan's pace attack can trouble India on bouncy piches while preparing spinning wickets could give India the advantage.

"Pakistan has a strong pace attack so they can come good on hard pitches. It is of no use to give spin tracks as India has a slight edge in that department," he said.

Former Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram last week advised Inzamam -- who met curator Zahid on Monday -- and the Pakistan Cricket Board to prepare bouncy tracks to beat India.

India open their tour with a three-day side match against Pakistan A at Bagh-e-Jinnah stadium in Lahore from January 7.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 17:56 IST