Pressure on Pakistan - Harbhajan
Dec 30, 2005India spinner Harbhajan Singh says the pressure will be on home side Pakistan when the two teams meet for a three-match Test series in January. Harbhajan said: "The last series held in Pakistan was won by India and this time they will be under heavy pressure to ensure it does not happen again. "We have improved a lot under new coach Greg Chappell's guidance and our unity has only improved further." Harbhajan missed India's last series in Pakistan due to a finger injury. He acknowledged Pakistan might be enjoying good form - especially after beating England 2-0 - but felt India had the tools to unseat them.
Wasim in call for lively wickets
Dec 29, 2005Former star cricketer Wasim Akram has advised Pakistan to prepare bouncy tracks in the home series against India to unnerve the visitors' batsmen. "Pakistan have a transformed Shoaib Akhtar who can rock the Indians on hard pitches, said World Cup-winner Wasim. "With his pace and accuracy Shoaib can target any Indian batsman, and none more so than Sourav Ganguly." Wasim's left-arm pace brought him 414 Test wickets for Pakistan and a world record haul of 502 in one-day internationals. And he is looking for Pakistan to win a Test series on home soil against India for the first time since 1984, a year before his debut. He said: "Pakistan are better organised than a year ago and can avenge their 2004 home defeat, but for that they will have to play positive.
Swap for two Pakistan-India ODIs
Dec 29, 2005Pakistan have decided to swap the venues for the first two one-day internationals against India in February for security reasons. The first match will be played in Rawalpindi on 6 February and the second in Peshawar two days later. The opener was originally slated for Peshawar and the second, in Rawalpindi, would have been three days later. But police in Pindi informed the Pakistan Cricket Board they would have staff shortages on 9 February. That is when the 10-day period of Muharram (month of mourning) starts. Security officials had warned much of their manpower would therefore have to be focused on sensitive places in and around Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Pakistan star Razzaq in hospital
Dec 28, 2005Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq could miss the start of the home Test series against India after being admitted to hospital in Karachi. Razzaq is suffering from a severe chest infection and has less than three weeks to recover before the opening Test match in Lahore on 14 January. "It is a terrible blow to me to fall ill just when India is due to arrive. "I am feeling very weak and doctors say it will take time before I can resume playing cricket," he said. "But I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am able to regain full fitness before the first Test." Razzaq recently missed an entire Test series against England, which Pakistan won 2-0, before returning to action in the one-day internationals.
Pakistan ready to dish out visas
Dec 26, 2005Pakistan will issue nearly 8,000 visas for Indian spectators to watch the forthcoming cricket series between the two countries, it has been announced.
The Indian team are due to arrive on January 6, and will play three tests and five one-day internationals. Limited daylight is likely to affect the Test matches, as happened in the recent home series against England. But a Pakistan spokesman said: "We have to deal with it. This is the only time of year we can hold our home season."
India begins Pakistan inspection
Dec 26, 2005A five-member Indian delegation arrived on Christmas Day to assess security at cricket grounds before the team's tour of Pakistan in January.
"We will tour all the venues of the series," said Yashovardhan Azad, a senior police official. India will start their tour on 5 January 5 and are scheduled to play three Tests and five one-day games. India's government has cleared the tour but concerns remain, particularly over violence-plagued Karachi. England recently played a one-day international in the southern city but refused to play a Test match there. India are due to play a Test and a one-day international in Karachi. They also have some concerns about Peshawar, where they are due to play a one-dayer.
Pakistan agree new Sri Lanka rota
Dec 26, 2005Pakistan will play two Tests and three one-day internationals in March and April in Sri Lanka, a Pakistan Cricket Board official has confirmed. "We have received the itinerary from the Sri Lankans," said director of cricket operations Saleem Altaf. The Tests have been proposed in Colombo and Kandy and the one-dayers in Dambulla and Colombo. Tests have been added to an original itinerary featuring just one-dayers to make up for Asia Cup postponement. In the rejigged schedule, Pakistan would land in Colombo on March 12 with the one-dayers preceding the Test matches.
Pakistan appeal over Shabbir ban
Dec 23, 2005Pakistan have appealed against a one-year ban imposed on paceman Shabbir Ahmed for having an illegal action. The 29-year-old was suspended after an assessment by experts at the University of Western Australia confirmed he the suspicions of umpires. Under new International Cricket Council guidelines, a bowler is allowed to straighten his elbow up to 15 degrees. Shabbir was reported for the second time in a year in the first Test against England in Multan in November. He was reported and suspended earlier in the year but returned to the international scene after remedial work and analysis showed he had made the necessary adjustments. Under the new ICC process, a bowler reported and found guilty of bowling illegally for a second time within two years of the first period of suspension receives a mandatory one-year ban. But the Pakistan Cricket Board insists Shabbir was not breaking the rules with every delivery.
Inzamam happy with series effort
Dec 21, 2005Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said his team had not taken the dead rubber lightly after losing the final one-day international against England. Pakistan lost by six runs in Rawalpindi but took the series 3-2. Inzamam said: "Yasir Hameed and Mohammad Yousuf got us off to a good start but after that England bowled really well. "It was'nt an easy wicket to bat on. We needed to buckle down. We didn't do that and England fought hard." Inzamam missed the final match with a groin strain. Also rested was pace bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, who afterwards revealed he had played in the first four games against medical advice. "The doctors advised me to take six weeks rest after I bruised my ankle during the Test series, but I played in pain," he said. "I played with the injury simply because we are a very united team at the moment and I wanted to be part of the one-day series." Shoaib continued: "I think we played very well to beat a side who had come here after winning the Ashes. The boys worked very hard for this series and deserve this success." Pakistan's next assignment is three home Tests and a best of five one-day series against India in the New Year. "India are a great team but hopefully we'll continue this performance and play well," said Inzamam. "We played very well against England and won comprehensively. We are working hard as a team and are all looking forward to the series against India," Shoaib added.