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England underestimated Pakistan, says Imran
by AFP


Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

Former cricket great Imran Khan said Friday England underestimated Pakistan thereby losing both the Tests and one-day series, while the hosts performed better than expected.

"After beating a team like Australia in the Ashes, England underestimated the strength of the Pakistani team," Khan, a former Pakistan captain, told AFP.

England came to Pakistan on the back of their September's Ashes win, their first in 18 years, but lost the three-Test series 2-0 and the following one-day series 3-2.

Khan said captaincy played a key role in any team's win.

"Captain is the key. Last year when India came to Pakistan they were led by a buoyant Sourav Ganguly who had done well on the previous tour of Australia, while (Pakistan's) Inzamam (ul-Haq) did not have the confidence of a captain," said Khan, who played 82 Tests for his country.

India beat Pakistan 3-2 in the one-dayers and 2-1 in the Tests last year, their first series win in Pakistan since 1990.

He said Inzamam's captaincy against England this month was the main difference between the two sides.

"England lost its captain Michael Vaughan at Multan and they could never recover after that," said Khan, referring to Vaughan's knee injury which forced him to sit out the first Test which Pakistan won by 22 runs.

The second Test at Faisalabad was drawn, while Pakistan won the third Test in Lahore by an innings and 100 runs.

Khan said Inzamam not only scored runs but gave confidence to express pacer Shoaib Akhtar.

"Akhtar was a transformed bowler in the series and that came about only because Inzamam gave him the confidence," said Khan, himself a fast bowler who took 362 Test wickets.

Khan also said England spearhead Steve Harmison failed to match Akhtar in the series. Akhtar took 17 wickets in three Tests while Harmison finished with ten, six of which came in the first Test.

Khan said Pakistan's win over England make them favourites against India in January.

"If Akhtar and Inzamam play all three Tests against India, Pakistan should not have difficulty in beating India," he said.

Pakistan team now has a two week rest before they start a warm-up camp from January 7 in Lahore.

India arrive on January 6 and play three Tests and five one-day internationals. A final itinerary is due to be announced next week after India's security delegation inspected the venues.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP) spacer

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