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Woolmer rules out drastic changes

Source: PTI
March 14, 2005 16:45 IST
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Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer on Monday ruled out any drastic change in his side for the second Test against India and claimed that the series looked evenly poised after the great Mohali fightback.

"I don't look much into history. But after Mohali, I think, each Test is 50:50," Woolmer told newspersons after the tourists had an extensive practice session at the Eden Gardens.

Refusing to attach any significance to captain Inzamam-ul Haq's contention that the hosts were still the favourites for the rest of the series, he said the "tremendous rearguard action" at Mohali had been a great morale booster for the side.

"I don't know about Inzamam's comment. But I think each Test is 50:50".

The former England batsman, though concerned at the failure of top order batsmen like Younis Khan in the last Test, ruled out any major change in the team for the second match.

"There won't be any drastic change, but only strategic changes. I don't want to change the team too much," he said.

Woolmer, however, hinted that Pakistan may have to opt for five specialist bowlers given the sultry weather condition in Kolkata and absence of able stop-gap bowlers like India's Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly or Virender Sehwag.

Woolmer hailed wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, admitting that his stupendous batting at Mohali had given the team management a chance to consider inclusion of an additional bowler in the side for the second Test.

About the possibility of speedstar Shoaib Akhtar joining the squad in the third Test in Bangalore, the coach said he had written to Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan in this regard and was awaiting a reply from him.

The 56-year-old former South Africa coach said the Eden wicket looked "fantastic" and he expected "fantastic cricket" on the surface.

Admitting that the vociferous crowd sometimes posed a factor against the visiting side at Eden, he said "I always say my batsmen to switch off their mind from the crowd noises and concentrate on their job".

Though not inclined to look into history, the coach felt Pakistan's triumph over India in the BCCI Platinum Jubilee one-dayer at the same venue in November last should be at the back of his boys' minds and it should enthuse them.

"But in reality, you have to play every ball as it comes."

Woolmer, who has been facing criticisms due to his 'experimentations' with the Pakistan team, said he would continue to do so, particularly with the opening slot, "untill any two of them start performing".

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