Monday, January 17, 2011

Foreword: Mission Caribbean

By Iqbal Qasim

The ICC World Cup, held after four years, is the most sought after event in cricket. Although we have tournaments like the ICC Champions Trophy in the interim period, the World Cup remains the ultimate title.

Pakistan’s team was certainly at the receiving end in the recently concluded five-match one-day series in South Africa but we believe that our team has the potential to recover in time for the World Cup.

This time the World Cup is going to be quite wide open and I have a feeling that our team has a fair chance of doing well. The South African tour wasn’t the ideal preparation for us but we would need to get that out of the way soon in order to turn it around.

Almost every team has been handicapped by injuries to key players and we are no exception. Like every other affected team we are also confident that we would be able to field the strongest possible team in the Caribbean.

Despite the recent slump in the form of some our key players, we remain positive that they would fire on all cylinders to come up to the expectations of the nation in the event as prestigious as the World Cup.

Pakistan, not being rated as one of the pre-tournament favourites, can play with greater freedom than teams like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, who would be under pressure to deliver.

Australia stand a very good chance of making it three titles in a row despite being humiliated by England and New Zealand recently. Australia will be boosted by the return of their star players.

South Africa have been in terrific form during the past few months having whipped both Pakistan as well as India in the ODI series. In fact now they have become the top team in the ICC rankings, having displaced Australia.

England and New Zealand can also benefit from the fact that their star performers have run back into form on the eve of the World Cup. The West Indies, being the hosts, have to raise their game in order to go the distance.

India and Sri Lanka, despite being plagued by injuries, have a good chance in the tournament. If the pitches in the Caribbean do assist their slow bowlers both these outfits can prove formidable.

Even Bangladesh, with quite a few spinners in their line-up, may look competitive on the dry surfaces of the Caribbean.

Our selection committee has picked up the best possible squad for the World Cup. Let us hope that they come off.

***For further details about Mission Caribbean, please write to or call Asad Raza at 0333-2304024

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