June 7, 2002

Younis bowls a maiden

Steve Connolly

BRISBANE, June 6 AAP - If his media performance is anything to go by, Pakistan cricket captain Waqar Younis will be giving nothing away in this month's limited overs series against Australia.

Younis held a news conference today after flying into Brisbane to prepare for the first game of the three-match series against the world champions at Melbourne's Colonial Stadium on Wednesday.

Quizzed on subjects ranging from how the critical situation between Pakistan and India over Kashmir was affecting the team to fellow paceman Shoaib Akhtar's speed, Younis bowled a tight line with his answers.

"We're not really worried at all," he said of the potential nuclear conflict back home.

"We're here to play cricket and we're just focused on cricket."

On whether Australia should continue with its planned tour of Pakistan in August, he said: "That is between the two boards."

Akhtar, who last month was unofficially timed at 100mph (160kph) in a one-day international against New Zealand, goes head-to-head in a pace battle with Australia's Brett Lee for the first time in two years.

"I think both are bowling very well, Younis said.

"(But) I'm not really worried about (Akhtar's) pace, I'm more worried about how good he's bowling."

Younis agreed the upcoming series was between the two best performing teams in the world.

But as to whether success would provide an edge for next year's World Cup, he said: "I think it's a bit too early and a bit too small but then again it will be handy for both the sides for the World Cup preparations."

On the departure of the Waugh twins from the one day side and Ricky Ponting's elevation to the Australian captaincy, he said: "If we want to beat them we have to be very professional and very tough against them."

Younis was a little concerned the two games in Melbourne could be played in cold conditions.

"We came from where it was 44 degrees and coming and playing in six degrees is definitely going to be tough but we are professional and we should be alright," he said.

Pakistan plays a 40-over a side practice game tomorrow against a Queensland selection at Allan Border Field while Australia plays the Queenslanders on Sunday.