|Event:||India in Pakistan 2005/06|
DateLine: 29th December 2005
Former cricket great Wasim Akram Thursday advised Pakistan to prepare bouncy tracks in next month's home series against India to unnerve visitors' strong batting line up.
"The advantage of pitches is with Pakistan, they have a transformed Shoaib Akhtar who can rock the Indians on hard pitches," the former Pakistan captain told AFP.
Akhtar, considered to be the world's fastest bowler, took 17 wickets to help Pakistan beat favourite England 2-0 in a Test series early this month.
"With his pace and accuracy Akhtar can target any Indian batsman, and more so Sourav Ganguly," said Akram, who took 414 Tests and a world record of 502 one-day wickets.
Former India captain Ganguly was selected for the series against Pakistan after his ouster in the last Test match of India's home series against Sri Lanka created a public furore.
Akram said Pakistan would have to play positive cricket to avenge the home series defeat it suffered when India last toured Pakistan in 2004, their first since 1989-90.
India won the Test series 2-1 and the one-day series 3-2, their first wins on Pakistani soil since they started playing against their neighbours in 1952.
Pakistan, however, salvaged some pride by levelling a three-Test series 1-1 and beating India 4-2 in the one-day series earlier this year.
"Pakistan is better organised than a year ago and can avenge their 2004 home defeat, but for that they will have to play positive," Akram said.
The 39-year-old Akram, regarded as the best left-arm paceman to play the game, said Pakistan were better organised under English coach Bob Woolmer than India under Australian Greg Chappell.
"Woolmer is now the number one coach in the world, he has infused fighting spirit and consistency in the team which wasn't Pakistan's forte two years ago," Akram said.
Akram praised Inzamam-ul-Haq's captaincy and said he had given confidence to the players.
"Now every player knows that his place is secure in the team, if he has the confidence of the captain who is also at his best form.
"Inzamam, Akhtar and leg-spinner Danish Kaneri are key to Pakistan's success," he said.
A five-member Indian security team returned home Thursday after inspecting the match venues and a final tour itinerary is likely to be announced shortly.
India are scheduled to play three Tests and five one-day games.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)