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Pakistan need to get up and stand up

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The last time Pakistan won a Test match in the Caribbean, Salman Butt - the youngest member of the likely playing XI - was not even four years old, and that says enough about the challenge that Inzamam-ul-Haq and his side will face at Sabina Park against a rejuvenated West Indies side. Just weeks after being trounced by South Africa, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and his embattled crew administered a drubbing of their own in Barbados, and the dent to the Pakistani psyche would have been far worse but for Shahid Afridi's rage against the dying light on the fourth day.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, most of the fighting spirit in Bridgetown was confined to the dressing-room and the showers - if leaks from the camp are to be believed. It was a sad state of affairs for a team that had accomplished wonders in India by dint of sheer hard work and a refreshingly united approach.

Deprived of the services of Inzamam, to suspension, and Yousuf Youhana - back home tending to his ailing father - the Pakistani batting was a shambles on a shirt-front at the Kensington Oval, a surface where the incomparable Brian Lara caressed and bludgeoned his way to 178 from just 172 balls. After that debacle, Yasir Hameed and Bazid Khan will make way as Inzamam returns, along with Shoaib Malik, who has served out a ridiculously light punishment for throwing a domestic game.

Pakistan were undone in the first Test by the slingshots of Fidel Edwards - whose subsequent breakdown has seen him replaced by Tino Best - and the seemingly innocuous offspin of Chris Gayle, and also by their own refusal to pick Shoaib Akhtar.

On a placid pitch where only extreme pace was likely to breach a batsman's defences, neither the tireless Rana Naved-ul-Hasan nor the gangling Shabbir Ahmed looked remotely like running through a side, and neither offered even a smidgen of the intimidatory air that Shoaib brings with him. He may have days when he's a liability, but as Matthew Hayden and Darren Lehmann - both know a bit about the art of batting - would testify, he can be frightening when in the mood.

The bowling travails were worsened by the contempt with which Lara treated Danish Kaneria. Before the tour, Inzamam had talked of Kaneria being his trump card, but Lara - who has pulverised as great a spinner as Muttiah Muralitharan - quickly set about showing that it's one thing to talk the talk, and quite another to walk it.

Ominously for Pakistan, West Indies romped to victory with only Lara and Chanderpaul - utterly assured, and as ugly as ever during his second-innings 153 - making sizable contributions. The likes of Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Wavell Hinds will be anxious not to miss out if Sabina Park offers similar batting delights.

There has been Jamaican delight in plentiful measure for West Indies down the years. Since the genesis of the pace quartet in the mid-`70s, they have lost here only three times - twice to England (1989-90 and last year) and once to Australia (1994-95). That last defeat, masterminded by the gutsy batting of the Waugh twins, was possibly the most epochal result of the modern era, heralding the definitive shift in cricket's balance of power.

Pakistan themselves would do well to be blissfully ignorant of history. In their first outing here, in 1957-58, a young Garfield Sobers reeled off an undefeated 365 as the hosts strolled to victory by an innings and 174 runs. Almost 20 years later, a brave second-innings hundred from Asif Iqbal and eight wickets from the peerless Imran Khan weren't enough to prevent a 140-run hammering. After the fiasco of Barbados, perhaps they can look to Jamaica's most famous son for succour. After all, Robert Nesta Marley did inspire a whole generation with Get Up, Stand Up.