India favourites for next year's series, concedes Malik

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Lahore, Sep 16 (UNI) Echoing the views of his deputy Misbah-ul-Haq, captain Shoaib Malik today said the lack of international cricket will leave the Pakistan squad under-prepared ahead of the home series against archrivals India early next year.

''There would be a great deal of difference between the two teams. We have had hardly any international cricket this year while India have a good round on international matches against quality opposition,'' Malik was quoted as saying by

''I would like to win the series and start the year on a high, but it is difficult to beat a top side when you haven't played enough cricket,'' he added.

Earlier on Sunday vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq, had stated that the Pakistan team would be underprepared for the big series against India early next year.

The unstable security scenario in the country has prompted Australia to postpone their proposed tour in March. With the ICC shifting the prestigious Champions Trophy to October next year, the Pakistan team is unlikely to see top quality international action this year.

Their problems are compounded by the fact that they have not played a single Test since the series in India last year. They had lost both the Test and ODI series and would be keen to take revenge.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been trying to do their utmost to arrange an international tournament in the country so that its team does not find itself short of practice against India.

Recently, the PCB had requested West Indies to play two Tests here in November.

There is no such problems facing India with the 'men-in-blue' taking on world champions Australia in a four-Test series which starts next month. They will also play England in November-December which will give them enough match practice before their Pakistan tour.

India is scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs when they visit during January-February next year.


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