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November 9, 2005
Inzamam-ul Haq, the Pakistan captain, says that his side would benefit from Michael Vaughan being ruled out by a knee injury for the first Test at Multan starting November 12.
England are awaiting expert assessment after Vaughan twisted his right knee, a recurrence of an old injury, during his team's lead-up match in Lahore on Monday. They will take a final decision on Vaughan later Wednesday, amid fears that the problem could force him to drop out of the entire three-Test series.
"There is no doubt that when your opposing captain is out you get the advantage and we would benefit from Vaughan's absence," Inzamam told AFP. "Vaughan has been instrumental in England's progress but we wouldn't get complacent if he is ruled out, because mentally they are a very strong side and may overcome it."
Inzamam added that England XI's six-wicket loss in the match against Pakistan A this week was also a plus for his side. "Our bowlers can take heart from the Pakistan A bowlers and especially the way the young bowlers bowled in the morning sessions," he said. The England XI's top order batting had also flopped during their 52-run win in the tour opener against the Patron's XI at Rawalpindi last week.
Inzamam played down speculation that Pakistan's hopes of taming England at Multan rest with their spinners. "I have not seen the pitch as yet but people's opinions that we would only rely on our spinners is exaggeration. We want an equal role for fast bowlers because we have a number of good pacemen."
Pakistan lost their previous Test at Multan, against arch rivals India last year, triggering a controversy over the pitch. The Pakistan team management criticised English curator Andy Atkinson for not preparing the type of pitch they had demanded, even though the home team batted and fielded poorly to hand India their first-ever Test win in Pakistan. "What happened in the past is past. My young team has gained good experience in the last two series in India and the West Indies earlier this year, so I expect a very good fight from them," said Inzamam.
Both the Pakistan and England teams reached Multan early on Wednesday and were scheduled to hold net sessions in the afternoon.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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