Shoaib, Danish our trump cards: Malik

Pakistan will bank on the Shoaib Akhtar-led pace attack to keep intact their record of not losing a Test series in India since 1979.

updated: November 22, 2007 12:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Pakistan will bank on the Shoaib Akhtar-led pace attack to keep intact their record of not losing a Test series in India since 1979 even though visiting captain Shoaib Malik reckons leggie Danish Kaneria too will have an important role to play.

Talking to reporters on the eve of the first Test against the Anil Kumble-led India which kicks off tomorrow at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, Malik said he was expecting the pace attack to make life difficult for the Indian batsmen.

"Our pace attack is our strength and Shoaib Akhtar will be our trump card," Malik said.

"His fitness level has improved a lot and he played four matches in a row in the ODI series, without slowing down a bit. He has found his rhythm and has been consistently bowling at 150 plus kmph. If we are to win the series, he would have to play the key role," the Pakistani captain said.

"Danish too will have his role cut out and along with Shoaib, he too needs to do well to help us win the series," he added.

Malik also revealed that it was on his suggestion that Shoaib had reduced his otherwise prolonged run-up in some of the ODIs.

"I had asked him to cut it short fearing slow over rate," he added.

Though Mohammad Asif is not in the side, Mohammad Sami would prove a perfect foil for Shoaib and bolster the attack, said Malik.

"Sami was part of the squad when we last toured India and won the Test series. His presence would add teeth to our attack."

India would be missing the service of RP Singh and S Sreesanth but Malik refuses to be complacent.

"They are good bowlers and their absence might make a little difference. But Munaf (Patel) has been called in the side and then you have someone like Zaheer Khan. Besides, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik headline India's spin department.

"So with so many quality bowlers in the ranks, India would go into the match with a good attack," he said.

Malik said stumper Kamran Akmal's finger injury had healed and hinted the off-colour wicketkeeper might get the nod ahead of rookie Sarfraz Ahmed.

"We would like to go for the experienced players," he said.

Pakistan has not lost a Test series in India in last 28 years and Malik oozed confidence that the record would stand even after the series was concluded.

"This is something I derive motivation from. Besides, though we have lost the ODI series against India, the last match win has done a world of good to our morale.

"Any triumph lifts team's morale and the boys are pretty high on confidence after the Jaipur tie," he said.

Malik also laughed off suggestions that the team under him was low on aggression and it was evident in the ODI series.

"This is incorrect. The passion and aggression were very much there. It's only because we lost the series that such things are being said. A victory tends to gloss over even major flaws but trivial things are blown out of proportion when you lose. It's the same case with us."