Inzamam hopes to get lucky in Windies

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq hopes it is going to be third time lucky for him as he prepares to face the West Indies team in the Caribbean.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq hopes it is going to be third time lucky for him as he prepares to achieve in the West Indies what no other Pakistan captain has ever accomplished before - winning a Test series in the Caribbean. "It will be my third tour to the West Indies. If the first (tour) helped me to be recognised as a Test batsman, I hope the third tour would provide me an opportunity to become the first Pakistan captain to win a Test series there," Inzamam said on the eve of the team's departure for the West Indies where it will play two Tests and three one-dayers. Inzamam, who burst into international scene after his heroics in the 1992 World Cup semifinal and final, was recognised as a world class Test batsman when he scored first of his 21 Test centuries at St John's, Antigua, in 1993. Inzy eyes ton Seven years and 54 Tests later, when he returned to the West Indies in 2000, he scored 135 at Georgetown, Guyana. "Of course, I would like to add another century on this tour but most importantly I am targeting a series win because that means a lot to the people of Pakistan than my 22nd century", he said. "And frankly speaking, I think we have an excellent opportunity to end the almost 48-year long wait because the team is gelled together and the confidence is sky-high. "All we need to do is to stick to the basics, concentrate harder and realise that after this series there will be a five-month break so why not go on vacations on a high," Inzamam said. Looking for a series win It will be Pakistan's sixth tour of the West Indies since Abdul Hafeez Kardar led the team in 1957-58. But Moin Khan in 2000 was the only captain who came close to winning the series only to be denied by a match-winning innings by Jimmy Adams and some poor umpiring by Billy Doctrove in the third Test at St John's. Doctrove adjudged Courtney Walsh not out off Saqlain Mushtaq after television replays confirmed that the ball had taken the inside edge before being caught by the close-in fielder. Adams and Walsh added 19 runs for the unbroken last wicket to guide the West Indies to a one-wicket victory that gave them the series 1-0. Imran Khan, in 1988, was the only Pakistan captain to draw a series in the Caribbean when the three-Test series ended 1-1. The prospects of achieving a series win - once considered improbable - also look possible not only because of the recent thrashing the West Indies received at the hands of South Africa but also because some of the star players, including Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan, might be forced to miss the series in the wake of sponsorship battle. Lara and Co are signed with Cable and Wireless while rivals Digicel are the West Indies Cricket sponsors. Inzy to miss first Test However, Inzamam will be watching the Barbados Test from the sidelines and will only have an opportunity to give his best shot at Jamaica as he is under suspension for slow over-rate during the series in India. Younis Khan, the heir apparent to Inzamam, will be at the helms at Barbados. "That (watching from the sidelines) would be tougher, but my heart and soul will be in the field," Inzamam said. "The series in India has provided us the belief that we have the capability to outshine any opponent. I am sure if we can handle the Indian pressure, we can sustain any pressure. "We just need to keep our heads down, keep our feet on the ground and forget the Indian heroics because that tour has now gone in the record books. The West Indies tour is a fresh assignment and we are expected to produce fresh results. "I think this is a great opportunity for Pakistan to establish itself as a team capable of producing consistent performances," Inzamam said. Learning series The 35-year-old captain said the tour should also provide his young brigade to learn about the West Indies conditions as it would also be hosting the 2007 World Cup. "It is an excellent opportunity to learn what was required to excel in the West Indies conditions. We have to make the maximum utilisation of this tour because what we face here will help us two years later. "This should be a significant tour as far as Pakistan's chances in the 2007 World Cup is concerned because as I see things, most of the players in the current team form the nucleus of Pakistan's World Cup squad," Inzamam, who has a captaincy contract till next year's Asia Cup, said. Inzamam said the absence of pace duo of Mohammad Sami and Shoaib Akhtar would be felt but did not waste the opportunity to add that his recent statements in which he was quoted as saying that Shoaib Akhtar had been dropped on disciplinary grounds, were misplaced. (PTI)