England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Headingley August 9, 2006

It's back to the drawing board - Woolmer

Cricinfo staff



Kamran Akmal reflects on two dropped catches at Leeds © Getty Images

Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's coach, has resisted from hitting the panic button following his side's 167-run loss to England at Headingley. Though Pakistan have lost the series 2-0 with one Test to go, Woolmer firmly maintained that he would fight calls for players to be axed.

"What we need to do is to keep this team solid and not to panic. We have been outplayed by a better team at home and we need to work on our cricket," he told reporters. "I don't want to throw individuals out of my team, I want to make sure they get better. We just need to go back to the drawing board and make sure we get things right. We don't need to make wholesale changes. I shall resist that. It's important we remember this team has done well for almost two years."

"Some teams might have rolled over but we fought through all of this Test match. We fought back when England scored 500, got a lead and then bowled them out. We conceded the game in the morning, unfortunately. We had a realistic chance of winning but we threw our chance away in the first hour," Woolmer added.

Woolmer gave England their due while lamenting the spilled chances. "England played very well. They played better than us throughout the series, it's as simple as that," he said. "We made too many mistakes. We never quite got it together as a team. There were good individual performances but when we dropped catches and gave England a lifeline it cost us the series. England's record at home has been outstanding for the last four years and you have to be at the top of your game to beat them. We weren't."

The other area of concern was the fitness of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif. Both fast bowlers have been sidelined with injury and did not take part in this series, but Woolmer said he would not rush either of them. "Shoaib hasn't bowled for about six months [and] Asif hasn't bowled for a month," he said. "We'll have a look at Shoaib [in Pakistan's next tour game] but to rush him back after six months of not bowling, I think any bowler would shudder at the thought if they were not fit. It's going to be up to him to prove that he is fit. If he isn't, he won't play. Our three seamers bowled very well on Monday and to bring in players who have not played for a long time would be wrong on those people."

The final Test begins on August 17 at The Oval.