|Event:||England in Pakistan 2005/06|
DateLine: 12th November 2005
New England captain Marcus Trescothick said his team were ready to overcome a disastrous lead-up to the first Test against Pakistan, in which they lost both a warm-up game and their usual skipper. "The boys are in good shape and are switched on, and although we lost our captain Michael Vaughan and the build-up game, we are up to the challenge," Trescothick told reporters on Friday.
The 29-year-old opener was named as stand-in captain after Vaughan, who took England to their first Ashes triumph against Australia for 18 years, was ruled out with a recurrence of an old knee injury.
England also go into the Test in the central city of Multan Saturday on the back of a six-wicket defeat by Pakistan A in Lahore this week, but Trescothick said he was still confident.
"Obviously, it wasn't an ideal preparation to lose a game coming into the Test, not a situation that you want to be in, but we lost the warm-up game in South Africa last year and went on to win the series 2-1," Trescothick said.
"It does give you a little bit of a wake-up call to make sure you do remain switched on and you work hard going into the Test," he added.
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq told the same news conference that he thought the two teams were level pegging.
"Both teams start on an even keel. My young team has the ability to pull off a win and we would do our best to do that," said Inzamam, whose side has won two of their three Tests at the venue in his hometown.
Trescothick -- who earlier said that he had asked his wife Hayley's advice before agreeing to captain the side -- said that Vaughan's mood was "not too bad" despite having to miss the match.
"It's never great to see from sidelines those guys practicing everyday when you want to be run around and leading the side," Trescothick said.
"It's up to him to remain positive as much as he can and make sure that he can get fit as quick as possible. Hopefully he'll still take a big part in this series."
Trescothick himself led England to victory in last year's Lord's Test against New Zealand, when Vaughan injured the same knee.
When asked to compare the current team the England squad which won 1-0 in Pakistan in 2000, Trescothick said: "This is a better team, positive and gaining confidence from winning big series and winning over a longer period of time."
England have won their last six series in succession, and are hoping for victory in Pakistan and then in India early next year to take the number one world Test team spot from Australia.
England have called up Alastair Cook, a 20-year-old left-hander from Essex, as cover for Vaughan, but since he will not reach Pakistan until Saturday out-of-form Ian Bell may step into Vaughan's number three spot.
Trescothick said England may go into the Test with two spinners, pairing veteran off-spinner Shaun Udal with left-armer Ashley Giles.
Pakistan's run-up to the Test has been far less fraught but they face problems of their own, including their failure to settle on a successful pair of opening batsmen.
Salman Butt and off-spinning allrounder Shoaib Malik will open in the first Test, becoming Pakistan's ninth set in the last nine Tests.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)