Real game starts tomorrow: Woolmer

bobPakistan may have posted impressive back-to-back wins in a couple of warm-up matches in Trinidad this week but coach Bob Woolmer is fully aware that the real game would begin with the World Cup opener against the hosts here at the Sabina park tomorrow.

“It’s good to win our practice matches but frankly the real matches are yet to begin. The more important thing for us to carry this form into the World Cup games,” Woolmer said following Pakistan’s comprehensive seven-wicket triumph over South Africa, the current world number ones, at the Frank Worrell Ground in Trinidad on Friday.

Pakistan recorded a 77-run win over minnows Canada in their first warm-up game and followed it up with a clinical finish against the South Africans.

They now look in much better shape than a couple of weeks back when the last-minute withdrawal of three key players forced most pundits to write off Pakistan’s chances of winning the World Cup.

Pakistan face the West Indies in an important Group D match on Tuesday and are aware that the outcome of the game can have a big impact on how their World Cup campaign progresses in the coming weeks.

“Winning the first two game was good for our players’ morale but we will have to take the results with a pinch of salt. We will have to do well when the actual competition begins,” he said.

Woolmer is telling his boys that they will have to win beat at least five of the major title contenders on the way to the last-four stage, something he acknowledges is a tough task.

“It would take a tremendous amount of hard work to get into the knock-out stage,” said Woolmer, who reached Montego Bay in Jamaica with the Pakistan team for Sunday’s opening ceremony of the World Cup. “I mean beating five of the top eight or nine teams would need something extra-ordinary and I must say that my boys are capable of doing it,” he expressed.

Pakistan are without key strike bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif while experienced all-rounder Abdul Razzaq is also out because of a fractured knee.

The 1992 champions are fancying their chances of regaining the title though they lag behind favourites like defending champions Australia, South Africa and even old rivals India.

Woolmer is hoping that his players would click in the World Cup right from the very start. “These are very fine players and once they get going we can beat any team in the world,” he remarked.

Pakistan would warm-up for Tuesday game against the West Indies at the Sabina Park this (Monday) afternoon. They are scheduled to play Ireland and Zimbabwe - the other two teams in Group D - on March 17 and 18 before confirming an expected entry in the Super-eight stage of the tournament.

Source:The News

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