Pakistan to benefit from Dravid's omission - Inzamam

Shocked by Rahul Dravid's omission from India's squad for the first two ODIs against Pakistan, former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has termed it a loss for the home side and an opportunity Pakistan must benefit from.

"He [Dravid] is a great player and his axing was baffling," Inzamam said. "I think Pakistan would benefit from it. He brings in lot of experience with him and that's something you badly need to win close matches."

Inzamam also shrugged aside calls for Dravid's retirement from international cricket saying he, together with Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, still have a lot to offer to Indian cricket and were far from being a spent force despite their age.

"It's up to the individual to decide when he wants to quit. I don't think Tendulkar, Ganguly or Dravid are too old to continue. I quit at 38 and they are younger.

"As a player, you have to assess how fit you are and look at your performance graph - how long you are delivering. I think fitness and performance levels are the right indicators to determine if it's the time to leave the scene," Inzamam said, citing the example of Imran Khan who played till the age of 39.

Predicting a see-saw series between India and Pakistan, while labelling Tendulkar and Shahid Afridi to be the key players, Inzamam backed the home side to come out on top due to the level of experience it possesses.

"Experience is something no team can afford to do away with. It's the experience players in the side who can guide you and show how to handle the situation and come out of it. India's relatively experienced side tilts the edge in the host's favour in the forthcoming series against Pakistan."

Inzamam, however, felt that Pakistan were a stronger unit after the return of Shoaib Akhtar who has barely featured for his country in the last twelve months. "If he [Shoaib] is in action, he would make an impact. He is a world-class bowler and would be eager to make his mark."

While praising Shoaib Malik's captaincy, Inzamam warned that the young captain still had a lot to learn and leading the side in Test matches, as depicted in the home series against South Africa, can be a very daunting task.

"He is a good, unflappable captain, who never loses his cool. He's young, positive and aggressive too. However, he might find the going a little difficult in Test matches but he is a good learner and has age on his side and can be a great captain."

Pakistan take on India in the first of the five ODIs on Monday with the three-match Test series starting on November 22.