Inzamam-ul-Haq on Thursday urged his troops to overcome the loss of top pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif and lift the Pakistan team with a united effort in this month’s World Cup in the West Indies.
“I’ve told my boys that it is not over. There is no doubt that losing top players like Shoaib, Asif and (Abdul) Razzaq are huge blow but it is not the time to sit and fret on it,” Inzamam said in an interview just before the team’s departure for the West Indies.
“What we now need is to go out there and show unity, giving our best against any side we play,” he added.
Pakistan were in big trouble after Shoaib and Asif were declared unfit and withdrawn from the World Cup squad by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The double blow was preceded by the pull-out of Razzaq, who injured his knee in practice earlier this week.
Inzamam, who turns 37 tomorrow, said that his players are blessed with fighting spirit and expects them to shine under pressure in the West Indies.
“The pressure is on us,” he said. “But these players have done well under pressure in the past and can do that again in the World Cup. We have to remain focused on the World Cup,” he explained.
The veteran batsman has lost two of his leading fast bowlers and a top-class all-rounder and to say that he is going to miss them in the Caribbean would be an understatement.
However, Inzamam has managed to remain upbeat in spite of a disastrous lead up to the World Cup saying that he is now expecting his spinners to take the role of key strike bowlers.
“We may not have our main fast bowlers, but there is no dearth of quality spinners in our team,” he pointed out referring to the return of leg-spinner Danish Kaneria to the one-day line-up as well as Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez ñ all useful slow bowlers.
Inzamam pointed out that low and slow wickets in the West Indies should suit spinners, who can help Pakistan reach the World Cup semifinals.
Pakistan are placed in Group D with hosts the West Indies, Zimbabwe and minnows Ireland.
The captain, who was a member of the Pakistan side that won the 1992 World Cup, said that he finds a lot of similarities in the current Pakistan team and the triumphant one that was led by Imran Khan. “We are as united and spirited as the team that won in 1992 and that is a good sign,” he remarked.
Under Imran, Pakistan overcame a series of hiccups to win the crown, beating England in the final.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, March 2nd, 2007 and is filed under World Cup 2007.
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