Don't write Pak off: Khan

Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan said it would be a mistake to underestimate his players ahead of Saturday's first cricket Test against England.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan is happy for his team to enter Saturday's first cricket Test against England as underdogs, but said it would be a mistake to underestimate his players. "Our team is not weak,'' Khan told reporters Friday. "Don't write us off.'' England beat Australia this year under Michael Vaughan's captaincy to claim its first Ashes victory in 18 years, and are rated favorites for the three-Test series against Pakistan. However, Marcus Trescothick will lead the England side after Vaughan twisted his ankle in a warmup game last Monday, ruling him out of the first Test. "Ashes is different. It has a different environment. It's just like we have a cricketing rivalry with India,'' Khan said of the England-Australia series. "The pitches we have here are totally different from what we find in England.'' Pakistan has lost five out of the last eight home Test series in seven years. But Khan was not willing to read anything into his team's poor home record. "We have improved a lot,'' he said. Khan forms the nucleus of a Pakistan batting lineup with experienced campaigner captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf in the middle-order. "We are more used to playing on our pitches and it's nice to go into the series as underdogs because it will lift pressure from us,'' Khan said. Ashes star, medium fast bowler Simon Jones was ruled out of the series against Pakistan due to a knee injury, and Khan believed he could have posed problems for Pakistan batsmen with his reverse swing. "He (Jones) knows how to reverse swing the cricket ball on dry pitches like we have in Pakistan, and England will surely miss him,'' he said. Khan, 29, hammered a century in his debut Test against Sri Lanka in 2000 and has since played 37 Tests, scoring 2765 runs with a healthy average of 44.59. (AP)