India in Pakistan, 2005-06 December 29, 2005

Pakistan should prepare bouncy tracks against India: Wasim Akram


Wasim Akram feels Shoaib Akhtar could be a handful on bouncy tracks © Getty Images

Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, has advised Pakistan to prepare bouncy tracks in next month's home series against India to unnerve the visitors' strong batting lineup.

"The advantage of pitches is with Pakistan, they have a transformed Shoaib Akhtar who can rock the Indians on hard pitches," he said. Akhtar, considered to be the world's fastest bowler, took 17 wickets to help Pakistan beat favourites England 2-0 in a Test series early this month.

"With his pace and accuracy Akhtar can target any Indian batsman, and more so Sourav Ganguly," said Akram, who has taken 414 Test wickets and a world-record 502 one-day wickets. Ganguly was selected for the series against Pakistan after his ouster in the last Test match of India's home series against Sri Lanka created a public furore.

Akram said Pakistan would have to play positive cricket to avenge the home series defeat it suffered when India last toured Pakistan in 2004, their first since 1989-90. India won the Test series 2-1 and the one-day series 3-2, their first wins on Pakistani soil since they started playing against their neighbours in 1952. Pakistan, however, salvaged some pride by levelling a three-Test series 1-1 and beating India 4-2 in the one-day series earlier this year in India.

The 39-year-old Akram, regarded as the best left-arm paceman to play the game, said Pakistan were better organised under Bob Woolmer than India under Greg Chappell.

"Woolmer is now the number one coach in the world, he has infused fighting spirit and consistency in the team which wasn't Pakistan's forte two years ago," Akram said. Akram praised Inzamam-ul-Haq's captaincy and said he had given confidence to the players. "Now every player knows that his place is secure in the team, if he has the confidence of the captain who is also at his best form.

"Inzamam, Akhtar and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria are key to Pakistan's success," he said.

A five-member Indian security team returned to India on Thursday after inspecting the match venues and a final tour itinerary is likely to be announced shortly. India are scheduled to play three Tests and five one-day games.