| Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer and captain Younis Khan in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)
New Delhi: On the cricket field, India and Pakistan have intense rivalry. But off it, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer on Monday lent a supporting hand to his Indian counterpart, Greg Chappell.
Speaking to the media, Woolmer did not name India but made it clear that he supported Chappell’s policy of experimenting with the batting order. “Batting order in one-day Internationals are notoriously flexible these days. The batsmen will have to buy flexibility.”
Woolmer went to the extent of saying that the same flexibility will be applied with the Pakistan team. “I started it with South Africa. Now all teams are following the same policy these days.”
Woolmer, however, said one has to justify the reasons behind the shake-up to the players. “It can’t be done without assigning any particular reason.”
Expectedly, Woolmer was well supported by captain Younis Khan on this issue. “In one-dayers, there is no rule that I have to bat only at No. 3. All of us have to be flexible. We have to go by what the coach says.”
The Pakistan captain said he strongly believed that it was time for them to win the Champions Trophy. “I think we have a kind of team, which is perfectly capable of winning the trophy. We have a solid batting line-up that can chase any target.”
While admitting that some amount of luck is always involved in winning one-dayers, Younis said his batsmen know how to get the better of a big total. “All you have to do is to keep the run-rate slightly ahead of the required one in the initial stages. Once you do that, there should be no problem in the end.
“I think Pakistan will reach the final. It would be a fitting finale if we meet India in the final. An India-Pakistan game has a different fun altogether.”
While Younis said his batsmen would perform their role to perfection, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar declared he was here to help Pakistan clinch the title. “I have come here to take wickets and to bowl fast as well,” Shoaib, who grabbed most of the media attention, declared.
“People like to see the fast bowlers. They are more creative and interesting to watch. It is not batsman’s game. It is bowler’s game.”
Shoaib said he had chalked out a plan for himself. “You get frustrated watching the game on TV and sitting at home. It is impossible to play all round the year for a fast bowler. The Pakistan Cricket Board and team management should think about it and play me for more Tests and in less number of one-day Internationals.”