Inzamam confident to bounce back

Multan, February 15:

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was confident on Wednesday his injury-hit team has enough fire power left to bounce back in the limited-overs series against archrival India.

“We won the (one-day) series 4-2 in India last year with almost the same team after trailing 2-0 and we are confident that we can do it again,” Inzamam said a day before the fourth limited-overs game in his home town.

Pakistan trails 2-1 in the current five-match series. India successfully chased targets of 266 and 289 at Rawalpindi and Lahore last week after losing the first game at Peshawar by seven runs on the Duckworth/Lewis Method under fading light.

Pakistan will miss its frontline bowlers in the must-win game on Thursday with fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar ruled out of the series due to a stress fracture on his left ankle and all-rounder Shahid Afridi out due to a rib injury. Paceman Umar Gul was also doubtful after he strained his back. “Injuries are part of the game. It’s true our main players are injured, but I don’t think it will affect the team combination because we have some good players to replace them,” Inzamam said. Pakistan has recalled paceman Mohammad Sami and Rao Iftikhar as backup for Akhtar and Gul.

“We have to work hard in all the three departments of the game and the simple recipe to succeed is to play better than India,” Inzamam said.

Even though the team batting second has won all three games, Inzamam said the toss wouldn’t play any role in the remaining two games. “We were in with a chance at Lahore before (Mahendra) Dhoni played an extraordinary innings and took the match away from us,” Inzamam said.

India has won its last 10 out of 14 limited-overs games against South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and captain Rahul Dravid said his team had enough flexibility to either set the target or chase big totals. “We know we have to play one good day to win the series and we have plans to meet the challenges of either chasing or setting the targets for the opposition,” Dravid said.

“But we know Pakistan is a good team despite the fact that they are without Akhtar and Afridi. We are also without (Virender) Sehwag and Harbhjan Singh, who are our critical players in one-day cricket,”

he added. Sehwag (shoulder) and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (finger) flew back home due to injuries.

SQUADS: PAKISTAN - Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Arshad Khan, Salman Butt, Rana Naved, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Yasir Arafat, Rao Iftikhar, Mohammad Sami.

INDIA - Rahul Dravid (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Sri Sreesanth, Murli Kartik, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ramesh Powar.