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Inzamam key to Pakistan revival, says Imran Khan
by AFP


Ground:Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad
Scorecard:Pakistan v England
Player:Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Friday was all praise for Inzamam-ul-Haq, saying the current skipper had played a major role in reviving the country's fortunes in international cricket.

"Inzamam has revived the team's fortunes and, the way he batted in the second Test, he has proved he is the best batsman under pressure," Khan told

Inzamam hit a century in each innings of the second Test at Faisalabad which ended in a draw on Thursday.

He not only broke former batting great Javed Miandad's Pakistani record of 23 Test hundreds, but also became the country's second batsman to score twin hundreds in a Test against England.

Hanif Mohammad is the only other batsman to have achieved this feat, at Dhaka in 1961-62.

Inzamam, who has so far played 104 Tests, is now 877 short of surpassing Miandad's Pakistani record of 8,832 runs 124 matches.

Khan said Inzamam was a better batsman than even West Indian Brian Lara and India's Sachin Tendulkar when it came to batting under pressure.

"No batsman in modern era, including Lara and Tendulkar, can play better than Inzamam when the chips are down," said Khan.

Both Lara and Tendulkar have completed 10,000 Test runs.

Inzamam rose to fame under Khan's captaincy, playing a vital role in his team's 1992 World Cup triumph in Australia.

Khan said he believed Inzamam could serve his team better if he batted higher in the order.

"Inzamam is playing with the tail, so I think he needs to bat at number four instead of six. It is better to avoid a crisis than play in one," he said.

Khan, who criticised Inzamam's captaincy during Pakistan's tour of Australia early this year, said things had changed as the current captain was now playing a more active role.

"What I said has been proved correct. Inzamam needs to lead from the front. He has become a more active captain with the tour of India and is improving with each match," said Khan, who played 82 Tests for Pakistan.

The Inzamam-led Pakistan upset all calculations by levelling a three-Test series 1-1 against India early this year before winning the one-day series 4-2.

Khan said England were thrown off balance in the first Test after missing their captain Michael Vaughan through a knee injury.

"Inzamam took full advantage of Vaughan's absence in Multan and that has proved decisive in the series," Khan said, referring to Pakistan's 22-run win at Multan.

He said Pakistan should continue playing attacking cricket in the third and final Test, starting here from November 29.

"Pakistan need to put more pressure on England rather than going defensive," he said, adding Inzamam had handled his bowlers well in the first two matches.

"He has exploited his bowling resources well, but I think paceman Mohammad Sami has been struggling and needs direction from someone like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Aaqib Javed," he said.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP) spacer

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