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Inzamam plans three-pronged pace attack

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January 11, 2006 18:05 IST

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq is planning a three-pronged pace strategy to counter the strong Indian batting line-up and believes that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar would be his "trump card" during the series against the arch rivals.

Inzamam said past record tips the hosts to win the first Test, starting in Lahore on Friday.

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"We can take heart from the fact that Pakistan had beaten India at the Gaddafi stadium two years ago. This time around, I am banking upon Shoaib to be our trump card," he said.

"The pacemen who excelled in the series against England will once again be the carriers of our hope and ambitions", Inzamam wrote in his column for The News on Wednesday.

"We have planned to attack the Indian batting with a battery of three fast bowlers. Instead of fitting all-rounders in the line-up, I would prefer to depend upon my regular pace bowlers," he said.

He, however, acknowledged that Pakistan will go into the series as non-favourites -- not due to any cricketing reasons but because the increased expectations of home fans put more pressure on them.

"Keeping in view the last two India-Pakistan series, one would surmise that the host team is not the favourite," the burly Pakistan skipper said.

"A home team is generally at a disadvantage... There are always more expectations from the home team and that is why I feel that India start as favourites," Inzamam said.

The home skipper added that Pakistan would not have the advantage of the home conditions -- as they did in the series against England -- because "the culture, weather and wickets" in the two countries are the same.

"The same team (England) which had snatched the Ashes away from Australia was unable to adjust itself to conditions here in Pakistan ... But in the series against India, the advantage of the weather and pitch conditions has already been reduced to zero," Inzamam said.

He also said that given the batsmen-friendly pitches that is common in both India and Pakistan, building big totals and putting pressure would be the pattern in the series, and so the fielders' role would become more important.

"In the cold weather, any team requires the utmost support from its fielders. Big scores and totally focused fielding provide the key to run any line-up into an outfit of champions," he said.

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