Pakistan working to combat Sri Lankan spinners

December 21st, 2008 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Shoaib AkhtarKarachi, Dec 21 (IANS) Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam believes his leading batsmen will have to deliver against Sri Lanka’s spin attack in a hastily-arranged series likely to get underway in the third week of next month.Intikhab Sunday said he is wary of Sri Lanka’s spin arsenal — Muttiah Murlitharan and new sensation Ajantha Mendis — and helping his batsmen combat it.

“Spin is Sri Lanka’s greatest strength and we will have to device a strategy (for the series) accordingly,” said Intikhab.

“Till a few days back, my focus was to prepare our strategy for India,” said Intikhab, a former Pakistan captain. “But now things have changed and it’s Sri Lanka, who are coming here. So we will have to work on an all-new strategy.”

India was supposed to tour Pakistan during January-February next year. But the tour was cancelled after the Indian government refused to clear the tour in the wake of strained relations with Pakistan post Mumbai terror attacks.

Later, Sri Lanka accepted Pakistan’s invitation to fill in for India for three Tests, three ODIs and a Twenty game series.

“It is going to be a good series. Sri Lanka are one of the best teams in the world with a couple of very dangerous spinners.”

Intikhab said Pakistan can neutralise Sri Lanka’s spin advantage with their pace battery which he says has been bolstered by the return of Shoaib Akhtar.

“Shoaib will be our key man. He is back and is now full of confidence. I see him as a completely changed man, who can be an asset for the team,” he said.

However, Intikhab is confident that with proper preparations, Pakistani batsmen will be able to counter the Sri Lankan bowling attack.

“Our main problem is lack of match practice,” he said referring to the fact that Pakistan played their last Test in December 2007 against India in Bangalore.

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