We will give tough fight to Indians: Shoaib Malik

Buoyed by their ODI series win over Windies, Shoaib Malik said his team has the wherewithal to present a tough challenge to India in the upcoming home tour

updated: November 17, 2008 17:09 IST
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Buoyed by their 3-0 One-day series win over the West Indies, Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik on Monday said his team has the wherewithal to present a tough challenge to the rampaging Indians in the upcoming home tour.

"I am also happy because we had a new team management and they cooperated very well and the senior players also responded a lot in the series. I think we are preparing well for the India series.

"The Indians have been performing very well. But I think the conditions and atmosphere in a given series matters a lot. So I wouldn't say they will defeat us (easily) when they play us next year," Malik told reporters after returning from Abu Dhabi.

"The Indians have improved a lot and they are doing very well but when they play us it will be a new series and things could be different."

Malik also urged India to tour Pakistan early next year, saying the on-field clash between the two nations create great excitement.

"The Indians must come because an Indo-Pak series is always very important and generates great hype no matter what other opinion people may have," he said.

Malik also made it clear that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who missed the first two matches of the series in Abu Dhabi, was fit for the final match.

"He is slowly regaining his best fitness and we didn't want to risk him for one match. We want him to be prepared and ready for the India series," he said.

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said the team refrained from experimentation during the Abu Dhabi series as he wanted to find out a settled combination before the India series.

"That series is very important for us in every way and given the Indians recent form it will be a big challenge for us. That is why I tried to avoid experimentation and stuck to specialist players," Alam, who took over as Pakistan coach last month said.

He said Pakistan had lot of potential within its ranks and his job was to get them to play to their best.

"I am disappointed that Shoaib Akhtar couldn't play because of his injury but it allowed other players to shine through. It means we are building up a good combination of players," he added.