Pakistan can cash in on England's misery, says Zaheer Abbas
by AFP

Player:Zaheer Abbas, M Muralitharan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Akhtar
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 7th June 2006


Former batting great Zaheer Abbas Wednesday said England were on the back foot after their latest defeat against Sri Lanka and urged Pakistan to exploit the situation during their tour next month.


Pakistan are scheduled to play four Tests and five one-day internationals on their two-and-a-half month tour. The first Test starts at Lord's from July 13.


Abbas, who hit a monumental 274 at Edgbaston and 240 at The Oval on Pakistan's tours in 1971 and 1974 respectively, said Pakistan had a good chance to defeat England in the series, noting that England would be on the defensive.


England went down to a 184-run third Test defeat against Sri Lanka on Monday at Trent Bridge to leave the three-match series level at 1-1.


Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan took eight for 70 as the home side slumped to 190 all out.


"I am amazed they (England) prepared a dry wicket against Sri Lanka and were routed by Murali," Abbas who is manager designate for the tour told AFP.


England could easily have used a grassy pitch and won the series, "if they do the same against Pakistan we have a good chance and (can) keep the unbeaten record against England" since 1982.


Abbas played 78 Tests between 1969 and 1985, scoring 5062 runs and with his stylish and elegant batting for Gloucestershire county became a batting legend in England.


He is the only Pakistani to hit over 100 first class hundreds, and excelled in English conditions which he feels are the most taxing for a batsman.


"My advice to the Pakistan batsmen will be to 'be patient, take your time at the crease and play late and this is the main trick to bat in England," said Abbas, who said captain Inzamam-ul Haq was the key to Pakistan's batting.


"With both Pakistan and England having good bowling attacks, I think batting will be crucial and Inzamam will hold the key for Pakistan because he knows the conditions having toured England thrice," said Abbas, 58.


"Pakistan's batting revolves around Inzamam and the way he batted against England when they came here was remarkable." Inzamam hit three fifties and two hundreds in Pakistan's 2-0 series win last year.


Abbas said Pakistan's bowling attack was very good.


"England was the most difficult side to beat when I played, but gradually other sides have become stronger and now Pakistan is one of top sides.


"We boast of a world class bowling attack and if Shoaib Akhtar is fit our attack would be too hot to handle."


Akhtar is nursing a swollen ankle and is racing against time to get a place in the 16-man squad to be announced on Friday.


"Akhtar is a match winning bowler and his fitness will definitely be crucial for Pakistan. Even without him we have a very decent attack and this team has proved that it doesn't rely on individuals," said Abbas.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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