Bob Woolmer had to spend much of yesterday refuting weird and wonderful speculaton of improbable additions to his Pakistan squad for today's second Test match.
It was with increasing exasperation that the coach made it clear he anticipates no surprise call-ups to or defections from the team which will face England.
Shoaib Akhtar will not be back from a stress fracture of his ankle either at Old Traf-ford or at Headingley next week - and Shahid Afridi, hit on the elbow in the nets on Tuesday, is fit for selection.
Woolmer was unequivocal in setting those two records straight. By implication, he spelled out too - contrary to some bizarre whispers in Manchester - that bowling coach Waqar Younis was not about to be drafted in at the age of 34 to revive past glories in a depleted pace contingent.
Waqar's old partner Wasim Akram apparently ought not to pay too much heed either if he happens to hear he is to be called out of retirement on his old stamping ground. Woolmer regards a day of denying gossip as anything but ideal Test preparation. "It is very unsettling," he said. "There are lots of these rumours floating around, and I wish they'd stop.
"We have the side here. We're happy with the squad that we have; if we weren't happy with it we would ask other people to come in. Whatever is rumoured or is going round, we are quite happy with what is going on."
Woolmer confirmed that Sussex leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed was the only player who came into the reckoning as a surprise call-up, saying: "We did consider Mushtaq. But we've had a look at the pitch and feel we have a balanced attack for it."
As for Shoaib, reportedly impatient to return, Woolmer is not about to be tempted to rush back Pakistan's most potent pace weapon. "I'd love to have him on this particular pitch," he said. "Shoaib Akhtar on a bouncy pitch would be a handful - but he's not ready. He's still ten days away from bowling. We don't have Shoaib Akhtar available for this Test, or the next Test match."
Instead, the three-man pace attack which operated in the drawn first Test at Lord's is likely to be complemented again by the wrist-spin of Danish Kaneria and allrounder Afridi.
It is a relief to the coach that batsman Younis Khan is back after injury, giving the squad a more solid base, despite the ongoing absence of three front-line pace bowlers. Wool-mer said: "It leaves us with a selection problem - and it's a good thing to have these extra options, rather than the last game where we had literally 11 fit players."
Even so, the Pakistan coach says: "We need to play better cricket than we did at Lord's -we need to bowl better and we need batsmen other than Izamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf to come to the party. Pakistan have to play well if we're going to beat any side England produce."