India's planned tour of Pakistan January 23, 2004

Miandad: India series will be 'very tough'

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Inzamam-ul-Haq faces the media on his return from New Zealand

The Pakistan side returned to Karachi from their New Zealand tour yesterday, but all the questions from the media were about the forthcoming series against India.

"I have never seen the Indian team playing with such strength or confidence ... our strength is that we have never been so united and played with so much spirit as we are doing at the moment," Javed Miandad, Pakistan's coach, admitted. "We are going to face a very tough series against them. It's going to be an emotionally charged series because of the little cricket we have had against each other in the recent years."

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain, was a little more upbeat, while acknowledging that it would be tough. "We are ready for the series. Our young team played well in New Zealand and with a superior bowling attack we think we can stop the Indian batting which has been performing very well in Australia.

"We will rely on our pacers and with Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami we have two match winners," he continued, while dismissing reports that he had fallen out with Shoaib in New Zealand. "We lost the one-day series and that allowed baseless rumours to float and once we start winning, all this will die down."

Some local newspapers have been calling for changes to the side following the heavy defeat in the one-day series, but Inzamam said that the same side was more than capable of beating India. "It needs no changes," he insisted. "It has been shaping up well since we won a Test series against South Africa last year."