Inzy to inspire Pakistan
Inzamam-ul-Haq's farewell appearance in the second Test against South Africa will inspire his Pakistan team-mates, says captain Shoaib Malik.
By Graeme Mair
Last Updated: 07/10/07 12:45pm
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has welcomed the return of experienced batsmen Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf for the second and final Test against South Africa, which starts in Lahore on Monday.
Jacques Kallis scored a century in each innings of South Africa's 160-run victory in the first Test, in stark contrast to the struggles of Pakistan's top order.
Yousuf is ready to return after missing that defeat due to a lack of match fitness, while former skipper Inzamam was absent on personal grounds but has been selected to play his 120th and final Test in Lahore.
Shoaib, who is leading Pakistan in his first Test series since succeeding Inzamam as captain, believes the presence of both men is a major boost to his side's chances of claiming a share of the series.
Inzamam has 8,813 runs from his 119 Tests and requires a further 20 to surpass Javed Miandad as Pakistan's all-time leading run-scorer.
Shoaib denied that the 37-year-old's farewell appearance will be a distraction, saying: "I can say with confidence that just having Inzamam back training with us has boosted the confidence level of myself and my team a lot.
"His inclusion is not a distraction but a boost for us. He has upped the morale of the team and we are hoping he has a good match."
On the return of Yousuf, Shoaib added: "Kallis was the main difference between the two teams in the first Test we lost in Karachi.
"Getting Yousuf back I think will offset the advantage of Kallis that they have. He is our answer to Kallis."
South Africa skipper Graeme Smith believes a positive mindset will be the key his side sealing the series in Lahore.
The Proteas have not won a Test series in Pakistan for 10 years but Smith is optimistic that is about to change.
"We have lost quite a few matches in the sub-continent," he said. "We lost here (Lahore) in 2003," said Smith.
"It is a huge card knowing we lost at this ground three to four years ago. But the players are hungry for runs and wickets.
"Our whole performance of playing in the sub-continent has changed. Our mindset has changed. We play spin better and score runs off spinners."