Pakistan coach planning spin trap for Australia

Australia's vulnerability to spin against South Africa has encouraged coach Intikhab Alam ahead of this month's one-day series against the world champions.

updated: April 11, 2009 06:31 IST
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Australia's vulnerability to spin against South Africa has encouraged Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam ahead of this month's one-day series against the world champions.

"What I saw yesterday on television, it's a good sign for us because we do have three quality spinners," Alam told reporters.

"If the wickets assist spinners a little, we do have a good chance against Australia."

Left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe took three key Australian wickets in South Africa's 25-run victory in the third ODI on Thursday. Two other slow bowlers J.P. Duminy and Johan Botha also chipped in with a wicket each.

Pakistan has included experienced leg-spinner Shahid Afridi and off-spinners Saeed Ajmal and former captain Shoaib Malik in the squad for the five-match series against Australia, beginning from Apr. 22 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

"We may go with an additional spinner, but it all depends how the wickets respond," Alam said.

Pakistan's squad gathered at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday for three day's training before flying to Dubai on Sunday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board will also send a 'B' team with the senior squad for a practice match on Apr. 15 at the newly built cricket stadium in the Dubai Sports City, which will host the first two matches of the Australia series (Apr. 22 and Apr. 24).

The series moves to Abu Dhabi for the remaining three games before returning for a Twenty20 international in Dubai on May 7.

"We are going to play the practice game on the same wicket on which we play the series opener against Australia," Alam said.

"It will give us a fair idea about the conditions."

Alam, who also coached the Pakistan team which won the 1992 World Cup in Australia, visited Dubai last week to see the pitch preparations with bowling coach Aaqib Javed, as well as watching a local match at the stadium.

The Pakistan coach said dew at night might affect the team's fielding under floodlights.

"There was lot of dew during one of the matches which I saw there," Alam said.

"They have planned to use chemicals to counter the dew during the innings break, but we have to wait and see how it works out during our practice match."

Pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee both will make comebacks to international cricket in the series.

Lee has not played for Australia this year after surgery on his foot but has traveled to South Africa to train with his teammates.

Akhtar made an unimpressive comeback to international cricket in January. He was dropped after taking just one wicket for 88 runs over two limited-overs games against Sri Lanka at home, failing to complete his quota of 10 overs in either.

"Akhtar has passed a tough fitness test and if he stays fit, it will be good sign for Pakistan."