Mansoor Ahmed on Pakistan’s World Cup hopes
Pakistan’s experienced all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has described missing out on the 2007 World Cup as the most disappointing moment in his career but I believe its not such bad news for Pakistan. Although Razzak has played a few explosive knocks over the years, he lacks consistency, is a poor fielder and his bowling can be erratic. Azhar Mahmood is a more than able replacement with a few points to prove. He is better all round cricketer could be one of the stars of the tournament.
Suspicions remain about the real reasons for omission of Shoaib Akhtar and Asif. How bad were their injuries? Was it because traces of Nandrolone were still in their system? Although Asif will be missed sorely for his tight steady bowling, absence of Shoaib is a blessing in disguise in my opinion. Given the recent episodes on and off the field, I believe squad will gel together a lot closely and team spirit will be better. Are they are good enough to win the cup? only time will tell.
India really need Sehwag to fire at the top of the order. He was dropped earlier this year and only included in the squad at the insistence of Rahul Dravid. They have a fantastic side on paper but some individuals are currently lacking confidence. However it can only take a couple of games to get the momentum going.
With recent thrashing of Aussies at the hands of New Zealand and England, it is obvious that they are no longer the best team the world. However, it is difficult to say who are the best at the moment. All Asian sides should perform well on small Caribbean grounds and sub-continent-like pitches. This world cup is wide open, I truly believe that any of the main cricketing nations can win it. If I were a betting man, I’d put a few pennies on Sri Lanka. They have been the most improved and consistent side over the last 12 months or so under the leadership of a young captain and coach.