The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pressure will be on Indians, feels Inzamam
Inzy says his team won't have problems adjusting to Indian pitches

New Delhi: Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq handled a variety of questions ranging from pressure factor, his future as captain, absence of Shoaib Akhtar and the slow nature of wickets during his interaction with the media on arrival here Monday.

The captain was accompanied by coach Bob Woolmer, manager Salim Altaf and vice-captain Younis Khan during the briefing.

Asked whether his comparatively inexperienced team would be under pressure during the tour, the skipper said: 'Last year when India toured Pakistan, we were under pressure. This time they will be under pressure in front of their home crowd.'

Inzamam, however, agreed that frequent cricketing exchanges have decreased the hysteria associated with India-Pakistan contest to a certain extent. 'The pressure has eased a bit, but whenever the two sides play they produce exciting and quality cricket. And with quality comes the pressure.'

The captain didn't feel any apprehension with the slow turning tracks. 'Pakistan batsmen play spin well. Our players will have no problems in adjusting to the Indian pitches. In fact the pitches here should help our batsmen.'

Inzamam even struck a positive note when he said that his team had quality spinners who would be able to exploit the conditions well. 'If we get spinning tracks, I think we have the bowlers who can exploit them. Danish Kaneria has bowled well in recent times. Arshad Khan is also a very experienced bowler and we also have Shahid Afridi. It is a good spin attack.'

The skipper added that Kaneria's ability to bowl on a turner is as good as anybody in the world.

When questioned about the absence of fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamam said: 'An Indo-Pak series is always interesting and absence of any one particular player does not matter much. Of course, Shoaib is our strike bowler and his absence will be felt, but we have got some promising young fast bowlers and I hope they will be able to perform.'

On Sachin Tendulkar's return to action, he stated, 'Tendulkar is a great player. If he is not playing or is not in good form, it's an advantage to the opposition. He is such a player that even if he comes to play after a long gap, he will still be able to perform.'

The Pakistan skipper was in a humorous mood when he said that he had been playing over a dozen years and was used to constant shake-ups in Pakistani cricket. He was referring to a query on how it felt to have a new vice-captain and a change of coach from Javed Miandad to Bob Woolmer.

Signing off on a personal note, Inzamam said that he hoped to be fit to play his 100th Test in Bangalore.


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