Pakistan must learn to live without Inzamam: Woolmer
by AFP

Player:Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Asif
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 3rd October 2006


Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer Monday urged his young side to learn to live without banned captain Inzamam-ul-Haq at this month's Champions Trophy.


"Obviously losing Inzamam is a big loss, both as a player and as captain, but in a way at some stage Pakistan will have to learn to live without Inzamam," Woolmer told AFP.


Inzamam was handed a four-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last week for bringing the game into disrepute after he led his team's refusal to play in the fourth Test against England at The Oval in August.


But he was acquitted of ball-tampering, the allegation which led to Pakistan's protest.


"What happened at The Oval and in the last week's hearing is now behind us. We are now focusing on cricket, with Younis Khan stepping in as captain, and whoever steps in as Inzamam's replacement has a big challenge," said Woolmer.


"Inzamam is a great leader of players but as I said this young team will, at some stage, have to learn to live without him. Younis will have to show he is equal to the challenge and so is the team."


Pakistan last week announced Younis will lead the team while Inzamam's replacement as a player would be announced later Monday.


The squad assembles here on Wednesday for a short training camp before flying out to Jaipur, India on October 7 where they play their first match against a qualifier on October 17.


The qualifying rounds, involving four teams, begin from Saturday. Two teams from the qualifying rounds will join Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and England, who all gained automatic berths due to their top rankings.


Woolmer, a former England batsman who also coached South Africa, said the Champions Trophy would be good for Pakistan.


"Various teams treat this biennial event in a different way. You have a good chance to assess what other teams are doing six months before the World Cup so it's a great test," said Woolmer, referring to the World Cup in the Caribbean next year.


"I was there with South Africa when we won the tournament in 1998 and they went on to play the semi-final in the 1999 World Cup. But history shows no ICC Champions Trophy winners have gone on to win the World Cup," said Woolmer.


Woolmer reckoned paceman Mohammad Asif, who suffered back trouble last week, would be fit before the team's departure.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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