World Cup 2007 March 12, 2007

Only Australia block the road to victory

210

Pakistan's preparation for the World Cup has been a rollercoaster of hope and despair, a journey that has driven supporters to the edge of madness. Many of you already consider me to be a raving lunatic and to those people I offer further evidence. Pakistan have nobody to fear in this tournament and might just have the mix of experience and hunger to lift the trophy.

Experience resides in the right place, the mighty middle order. Michael Slater questioned their ability to win matches but he is sadly mistaken. This is a double mistake if the pitches continue to play anything like they did in the warm ups. What this trio have lacked is the support of the openers but Caribbean conditions will offer Pakistan a genuine opportunity to establish an opening partnership of substance. Indeed, both Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez will be hungry for success.

Hunger will also drive the bowling attack. Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, and Danish Kaneria - my first choice attack depending on pitch conditions - have enough experience but also something to prove. There should be nothing stale about Pakistan's bowling attack, with Azhar Mahmood, Shahid Afridi, and Mohammad Hafeez a worthy support cast.

Since Rana Naved-ul Hasan, Iftikhar Rao, and Yasir Arafat have something to offer - death bowling, consistency, or all-round ability - Pakistan have plenty of bowling options. Even in the absence of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, it is a bowling attack that can potentially compete with any in the tournament. It also comes with the added bonus of being under-rated by most cricket pundits, an estimate based more on ignorance than sound judgment.

Australia remain the only team that pose a special challenge. Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, and Andrew Symonds were three good reasons why Australia's form has slumped in recent weeks. Indeed, Symonds offers wonderful balance to the Australian team. If those three fire Australia will be tough to beat, and that's before the possibility of Shaun Tait's speed and reverse swing creating a sensation in this World Cup. Yet, although England and New Zealand wouldn't be my favourites to win, they have done the other leading teams a favour by reminding Australia of their mortality.

Pakistan have arrived with a deceptively strong squad of players, some of whom must make a name for themselves in this tournament just as Inzamam did fifteen years ago. At this moment in time the road to victory looks far less difficult than it might have been. Much hinges, once again, on Inzamam's leadership and all Pakistan supporters will be rooting for him--in Urdu, English, and many different languages--to rise to the occasion. In a few hours time we will get the first indication of whether or not Pakistan have the intent to match their considerable potential. I have a crazy notion that the lunacy of the last six months must have been building to a glorious finale.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ozzie on March 16, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    As an Australian I really would like to think that this was true, however after watching South Africa's performance today I am really not that sure anymore that Australia is the only ones to block the road.

  • normy qp on March 16, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    wat on earth is wrong with pakistanis.lets start from the top bob woolmer say goodbye and go 2 england jus like you want to or your beloved south africa. inzamam captain? you would be better off with my grandma at least shel get something through to the players. ponting fleming smith vaughan dravid jayawardena all bat 1,2,3 hes not a captain and is in no form.ranas goose was cooked long ago but because he grew a beard hes back in the side there not going to win it so stop kamran coz u no its jus to attract media

  • Gollumbird on March 14, 2007, 20:52 GMT

    Kamran, looks like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed when you wrote this. Zim and Ire would be licking their lips at the sight of playing us. Who is kidding who?

  • chudhary on March 14, 2007, 20:36 GMT

    lets focus on getting to next round at the moment & hope younis & hafeez won't attempt these kinda shots again :)

  • Amyn Habib on March 14, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    You have written a lot of entertaining articles in this forum. But this has to be the funniest.

  • Taimur Huk on March 14, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    guys dont give up hope yet. we're still alive in the cup. think positively. this team still has what it takes to win the cup. we will learn from the mistakes today and inshallah, we will win the world cup.

  • Johnny B on March 14, 2007, 9:56 GMT

    Sorry guys, I've been warning you for weeks that Pakistan suck now. Quite simply, no team can lose 3 star players and expect to compete with other top teams - England did abysmally in ODI's after the Ashes because they lost Vaughan, Jones and at least 1 other bowler through injury in every game until now. Oz lost Symonds, Punter and Gilly and got whipped by NZ.

    Really, you should just chalk this WC down to experience - get yourselves a stricter drugs policy, and start playing by the same rules as everyone else.

  • Taimur Huk on March 14, 2007, 5:16 GMT

    i am still confident about pakistan's chances despite the loss today. but australia ain't the only team blocking are path. all the teams are even and they all have an equally good chance of winning the cup. INSHALLAH, PAKISTAN WILL LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES AND IMPROVE IN THE MATCHES TO COME!

  • Taimur Huk on March 14, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    this is in response to rajesh singh: who in the world is rahul dravid. inzi may not be the best of captains, but rahul ain't no better. so inzi doesn't need to seek any advice from dravid. IN YOUR FACE!!

  • Rahimm Khann,UK on March 14, 2007, 1:58 GMT

    Oh Mr Abbasi, Australia is biggest hurdle right. But before that there is a minor hicupp like Ireland,Zimbabwe,NZ,ENG,IND,SA,SL on the road to a match with incredible Aussies. Lets see what happens with these minor hicupps which we will likely blow away based on the performance against WI. Afterall the performance was top class today with the captain leading from the front,the batsman playing with great application and in great form and finally the world class bowling which blew away the opposition,not to mention the exceptional fielding and the catches taken by our fielders,and of course our fantastic opening pair. I am damn sure all other teams in the WC must be shivering at the prospect of meeting Pakistan,and surely the Indians must be having nightmares already about facing us.

  • Ozzie on March 16, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    As an Australian I really would like to think that this was true, however after watching South Africa's performance today I am really not that sure anymore that Australia is the only ones to block the road.

  • normy qp on March 16, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    wat on earth is wrong with pakistanis.lets start from the top bob woolmer say goodbye and go 2 england jus like you want to or your beloved south africa. inzamam captain? you would be better off with my grandma at least shel get something through to the players. ponting fleming smith vaughan dravid jayawardena all bat 1,2,3 hes not a captain and is in no form.ranas goose was cooked long ago but because he grew a beard hes back in the side there not going to win it so stop kamran coz u no its jus to attract media

  • Gollumbird on March 14, 2007, 20:52 GMT

    Kamran, looks like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed when you wrote this. Zim and Ire would be licking their lips at the sight of playing us. Who is kidding who?

  • chudhary on March 14, 2007, 20:36 GMT

    lets focus on getting to next round at the moment & hope younis & hafeez won't attempt these kinda shots again :)

  • Amyn Habib on March 14, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    You have written a lot of entertaining articles in this forum. But this has to be the funniest.

  • Taimur Huk on March 14, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    guys dont give up hope yet. we're still alive in the cup. think positively. this team still has what it takes to win the cup. we will learn from the mistakes today and inshallah, we will win the world cup.

  • Johnny B on March 14, 2007, 9:56 GMT

    Sorry guys, I've been warning you for weeks that Pakistan suck now. Quite simply, no team can lose 3 star players and expect to compete with other top teams - England did abysmally in ODI's after the Ashes because they lost Vaughan, Jones and at least 1 other bowler through injury in every game until now. Oz lost Symonds, Punter and Gilly and got whipped by NZ.

    Really, you should just chalk this WC down to experience - get yourselves a stricter drugs policy, and start playing by the same rules as everyone else.

  • Taimur Huk on March 14, 2007, 5:16 GMT

    i am still confident about pakistan's chances despite the loss today. but australia ain't the only team blocking are path. all the teams are even and they all have an equally good chance of winning the cup. INSHALLAH, PAKISTAN WILL LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES AND IMPROVE IN THE MATCHES TO COME!

  • Taimur Huk on March 14, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    this is in response to rajesh singh: who in the world is rahul dravid. inzi may not be the best of captains, but rahul ain't no better. so inzi doesn't need to seek any advice from dravid. IN YOUR FACE!!

  • Rahimm Khann,UK on March 14, 2007, 1:58 GMT

    Oh Mr Abbasi, Australia is biggest hurdle right. But before that there is a minor hicupp like Ireland,Zimbabwe,NZ,ENG,IND,SA,SL on the road to a match with incredible Aussies. Lets see what happens with these minor hicupps which we will likely blow away based on the performance against WI. Afterall the performance was top class today with the captain leading from the front,the batsman playing with great application and in great form and finally the world class bowling which blew away the opposition,not to mention the exceptional fielding and the catches taken by our fielders,and of course our fantastic opening pair. I am damn sure all other teams in the WC must be shivering at the prospect of meeting Pakistan,and surely the Indians must be having nightmares already about facing us.

  • Doosra on March 14, 2007, 1:16 GMT

    Bring on the ozs. But wait, Zimbs are watering their mouths at the prospect of a match with Pak now. If that game slips out of hand, there will have to be a DOOSRA worldcup tournament in Abbasi's backyard where Aus and Pak will have to square off to decide the winner.

  • pramod on March 14, 2007, 1:00 GMT

    You got it wrong Mr Abbasi. It is not the australians who block the road to victory. It is the pakistani's themselves.

  • Sitarah Anjum-London on March 14, 2007, 0:51 GMT

    Well as I feared Pak lose to WI today in their opening match and reason remains the same. Failure of openers and big guns! Now they must win against Ireland and Zimbabwe and I pray that none of these 2 teams cause any upset and early departure of Pak like the previous WC! Being optimist is a v good omen. I am one of optimist myself but trust me I have seen Pak on countless occasions giving away the game in the early overs. Other teams like Australia they still manage to score even if they lose early wickets but for our team it almost looks like a miracle. Even if someone tries to put a fight others do not support them like what we all seen today Shoib Malik scoring more than the balls he played but no body else actually supported him well.Kamran Akmal's first ball out, Imran Nazir, Hafeez and Younas's stupidity and poor shot selection. You name it... The same old disease but no cure!!! God help them or someone allow me to kick their asses hard so that every time they play poor shots and throw away their wickets they can remember my kick!!

    I am also so disappointed to see Inzamam batting again at NO 5 despite he announced in the media that he will play at NO4!!!!! Was that a lie?? Inzamam you are a huge disappointment and consistent failure, bigger than anybody else in the team as I expect you to lead from the front as a captain and leader but you are persistently acting like a loser and timid rabbit. In today’s match slow run chase by Yousaf and Inzamam left lower order with more pressure otherwise there could have been a chance in the presence of Shoib who was the only batsman showing some fight and courage.

    There is strength in the team as well as weaknesses but they keep showing consistency in the INCONSISTANCY department. No further comments. We need to wait and see the mercurial side of Pakistan however I hope they beat India in the WC!!!!

  • Rajesh Singh on March 14, 2007, 0:43 GMT

    The Indian captain Rahul Dravis had warned the Indian team ,not to take the results in the warm up matches seriously and not to get complacent. How the they hell did Inzi ignore his advise to Indians team and not tell same to the Paksitanis. Look now whats happened????

  • Roger bond on March 14, 2007, 0:27 GMT

    Hey Guys,There is a Barbados-London ,over night stay at London ,then London-Dubai-Karachi Aeroflot flight on the 24th of March at 1600 hrs. Shoulsd I book 16 tickets on it

  • mahir on March 13, 2007, 23:58 GMT

    Dr. Abbasi: If you got up from sleep, please see a psychiatrist asap. Optimism is good thing, closing eyes is not. I want to find out the selection of the bowlers today, none of whom were capable of batting. We were playing with long tail. When there was no Afridi and no Razzaq, why are we asking Azhar Mehmud to sit out and lay eggs. Just a non-technical bias. When will our best players bat at top?

  • Mawali on March 13, 2007, 23:28 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, hard to maintain civility after reading your fairly tale. Your priorities are screwed up. Pakistan was emphatically beaten by a team that was thrashed by India a week ago. I cannot blame the bowlers for this debacle. The much touted batting line up and the middle order choked as usual. I just think this now becomes a game of attrition, with each game we can start the count down to Inzy maulvi and Woolmer's departure. AMF!

  • Bill Swazy on March 13, 2007, 23:16 GMT

    Pakistan team is a fair representation of its people. Like the columns and comments the team is very inconsistent. Kamran got his timing wrong.

  • Ozzie on March 13, 2007, 23:09 GMT

    I think it is probably better to choke in a warm up match than the real thing.

  • Total Damage on March 13, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    Kamran bhai, you have a good sense of humour... First I thought you were being serious, then I realized you are making a parody of the Pak team.. very funny indeed. ALL ROUNDERS.. they are all ROUND, if thats what u mean... anyways, since they've lost to the windies, they r well on their way to world cup "Glory"

  • Reality Check on March 13, 2007, 22:57 GMT

    Kamran bhai , ahem , did you watch the match? Your optimism is perhaps justified but Inzamam bhai will beg to differ.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 13, 2007, 22:30 GMT

    Aloo, is an Aloo, is an Aloo....I don't understand what goes into that spuddy brain and why he takes such stupid decisions?

    1. What was the need to field first after winning the toss? 2. If he wanted to score that slowly and ruin the run rate, then he should have batted at number 3. Thats what I have been saying since the beginning and so is everyone. But, the spuddy brain is so thick that nothing goes in that easily. 3. Once again Umar Gul was not used properly. There was no need to make him bowl 7 straight overs and then in the end he couldn't even bowl his quota of 10 overs. 4. Rana was once again included in the team only because the pundits have come up with statistics that he got Chris Gayle 6 times and got Lara 3 times. Once again he gave away 49 runs in 9 overs! He was the only player to get clean bowled. Its time for him to go to the beach and swim back home. 5. WI bowlers bowled very good line and length and very tight fielding and they deserved to win.

    The problem is not ending here, the problem has just become bigger. Ireland and Zimbabwe both are gonna give Pakistan a very tough time and most likely the team will get a one way ticket by not qualifying for the super 8. If they are going to play like this, they are definitely making their case very strong for an early exit.

    Does Pakistan ever learn from their mistakes? I don't think so. But, West Indies have proved that they are a fighting bunch of young cricketers under Lara's captaincy.

    Can someone SCREAM into Inzamam's deaf ear and say SPUDDY YOU BAT AT NUMBER THREE!!!!!!!!!

  • khansahab on March 13, 2007, 22:26 GMT

    First of all thanks to Allah. Miserable. Pathetic. Inconsistent. If you ask me Younis Khan dropping Sarwan on 0 was a pivotal factor in Pakistan’s loss. It wasn’t an easy chance but it could be caught. Sarwan played aggressively and built up a sizeable score before Samuels played the innings which stabilised West Indies. Had it not been for Sarwan’s 30-odd score when Samuels came to bat, the latter would not have been confident enough to get the momentum going in West Indies favour. Catches win matches and Pakistan need to focus on their fielding. They can’t catch everything but then again, they drop too many. Pakistan also lost this match because of the following: 1) Inzi using Rana quite significantly in the initial overs and bringing him back into the attack when Gul finished his first spell instead of opting for Kaneria. 2) Pakistan not learning from their mistakes- silly Younis got out in similar style as he did for much of the series in South Africa- “heroic” mistimed and miss-hit pulls. The top-order batsmen gave their wickets away. 3) The openers getting out in same style as they do. Again Hafeez played a ruefully slow-paced innings before giving his wicket away.

    This clearly evidences that Pakistan did not do their homework. I was most disappointed with Rana because prior to today I thought he should be in the playing XI along with Sami, Gul and Rao. However I am having second doubts about him now. But Inzi should have used him more when Kaneria and Malik were bowling, both of whom were not impressive. Rana was not utilised the way most sensible people thought he would be. In the next two matches, Sami is the obvious replacement for the “all-rounder” Rana and Kaneria may well play because Afridi won’t be available for another match. However it has been a terrible start for the openers and it seems this will carry on for the rest of the tournament and it’s going to be the same old story. One must ask why Younis did not open as was the plan and why Yousuf, who averages 55 batting at no.3, was not promoted up the order. Forget this, I am an advocate for Yousuf and another middle-order batsman opening for Pakistan and I want to scrap this concept of “specialist Pakistani opening” altogether. But since the Pakistani team management love their paindu openers so much, why was one of them, preferably Hafeez, not demoted down the order? So what if he played an innings of 49 vs South Africa as opener, that was just a practice match which is a different ball game. We all talk about the mental weakness of Hafeez in proper ODI’s, yet the team management are hellbent on him opening.

    Inzi announced that he will not retire after the WC. Regardless the outcome of this WC for Pakistan, the following strategies should be adopted after the WC: 1) Younis should be made captain with Yousuf or Malik as vice captain. What a pity that Malik still hasn’t properly cemented his place in the Test side owing to erratic form and partly owing to the team management fiddling about with his batting position, but it seems that Pakistan will be desperate for change. Please note that I am no fan of Younis’s captaincy but I think the team needs a change of leadership. 2) Inzi should play as a no. 3 or no. 4 batsman 3) Razzaq and Akmal should be sacked. Any good keeper should be groomed at domestic level and Rashid Latif should coach potential keepers at domestic level. PCB will consider it a waste of money to employ Latif as a keeping coach just to coach a struggling keeper. But they can afford paying him to do some work domestically in grooming 2 or 3 potential keepers. 4) Yousuf and Younis should open and Asim Kamal and Fawad Alam should be brought into both the ODI and Test sides. 5) Selection Committee should be sacked. I am really sorry if I sound biased but provincial quotas for national-level player selection should now be implemented for the success of the team. At least two players each from Sindh and NWFP should always feature in a Pakistani line-up. Meaning- get out Razzaq/Hafeez/Nazir/Farhat/Butt, and get in Kamal, Hameed, Anwar Ali, Alam etc. 6) I can only pray that the system gets free of corruption but I know there is no chance of that occurring. Players with potential like Misbah-ul-Haq and Asim Kamal who apparently don’t have sources will benefit from that move.

    Even after this debacle I am certain Pakistan will defeat the other 2 teams they play in this qualifying stage. But sadly, defeating minnows should never be a cause for celebration. Especially not for a team which has the talent to tumble Australia on its day.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed about what Imran Khan has to say about this defeat.

  • Hunter Of Dawn on March 13, 2007, 22:14 GMT

    A case of jumping the gun? Pakistan has faltered against Windies at the first step itself. Australia remains the team to beat, but Pakistan will also need to beat a lot of other teams before they can even think about competing with the Aussies.

  • reginald andrews on March 13, 2007, 21:53 GMT

    Well the first results are in and Pakistan as no one, other than pakis around the world, was even surprised with the result. Now only hope for Pakistanis is that they don't lose the remaining two games. One defeat is guaranteed with this second rate bowling. I thought their batting was dependable but their also they surprised me by meekly succumbing to a solid Windies attack which did not use their two trusted spinners in Gayle and Samuels. So when is the return journey for Pakistan?? As I had already written previously in this very column Shahid Afridi is very welcome to emulate Kapil Dev's score of 175 not out in the third game. By that time the return ticket to Pakistan also would have been confirmed for the (un)lucky 14.

  • SK on March 13, 2007, 21:49 GMT

    After today's match, Mr. Abbasi would hopefully realise that there are far sterner obstacles than Australia in your team's path. So much for your wishful thinking! Your posts are as far removed from truth/reality as Shoaib's and Asif's feigned injuries!!!

  • Saurabh Kumar on March 13, 2007, 21:41 GMT

    Please go and look at the pakistan vs west indies scoreboard and analyze the pakistan allrounders on that.

  • pete on March 13, 2007, 21:40 GMT

    Mr Akmal, You really must be joking, lets talk about tomorrows game first before talkig about AUS and the FINAL, my money is on the Windies tomorrow. No chance PAK

  • fizzy on March 13, 2007, 21:39 GMT

    are u serious kamran or have u completely lost it

  • raja on March 13, 2007, 21:21 GMT

    Kya Kamraan Bahi, match dekh rahe ho kya

  • wasim saqib on March 13, 2007, 21:07 GMT

    To all the Hillys and billys posting from England Newzealand and south Africa, We pakistanis can say been there done that But can you, have you ever won a world cup before I guess not and for english supporters there is no Darrel hair to save you this time around Its so funny that you are proud of that win,what a disgrace. And to that SA fan commenting about the choker tag probably you didnt watched the warmup game You Choked again.HAHA

  • inzamam ul haq on March 13, 2007, 19:13 GMT

    bismillah kamran bhai, kyon hamari museebat mein izaafa kar rahe ho. 2 mahine mein to hum log 3 baar ek doosre ka qatl lar chuke honge. itna lamba tournament, kaun khelega.. meri to fingers hurt kar rahi hain.. khuda hafiz aapka inzi

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 13, 2007, 18:47 GMT

    This one is for: Afridi (India) Posted at March 13, 2007 1:37 PM

    Dude where are you speaking from? And are you aware of the facts that rectum aneurysm causes blindness also, soreness in the extremities? So please don't scream that loudly. And, we all know that Shahid Afridi's SIXERS have gone to the wrong ends, therefore you are unable to express yourself coherently. Try laxatives and you will feel better.

  • Sami on March 13, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    It is frankly quite disturbing, and a little depressing, to see that so many of the people who wrote comments agree with Kamran Abbasi's partisan and wishful views - never mind that the media in every country is generally blind to their team's weaknesses, do we have to be like them as well? For this sort of irrational thinking is not unique to cricket but all topics on which we have strong feelings; it unfortuntely also encompasses topics that are of vital importance to the peace and progress of the world. Convictions of any sort are dangerous.

  • Miten on March 13, 2007, 16:18 GMT

    Australia has the strongest squad and should win this cup. All others will compete. Any of the other teams can defeat them provided they play their best and Australia has a bad day but on their day, they are simply invincible.

  • Faisal Khan on March 13, 2007, 15:59 GMT

    salam, Dear bro dats wot we were looking for... i totally agree wid u... we r the winnners inshaAllah... nobody cant stop us.. gud luck to out team.. cheers

  • Hamid on March 13, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Can someone tell me which PCB / Govt. official Rana Naved is related to?

  • rogerbond on March 13, 2007, 15:29 GMT

    Hahahah Paskitan looses badly to India ,SA , England in past one year,not even close fights, and now suddenly pakistan is superior. NZ, Eng defeated Australia in aussie like recently ,still they posses no chance to beat Pakistan all of sudden. Wow i admire your optimism,but over optimism borders on insanity.

  • rahul on March 13, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    I can understand the blindly patriotic sentiments of the people commenting - patriotism is the opiate of the masses - but the sentiment surfacing in a supposed connoisseur of cricket like you, however fraudulent, ill-informed and biased, is surprising. Pakistan is in for a reality check. I only fear for the cricketers' families back home. Ill informed fanatics parading as fans regularly trash their homes. Another thing I cannot understand is your repeated reference to religion throughout all your comments. It is not proper for me to comment on religion, but unless all of you are fanatics, you don't need to keep on invoking the benevolence of allah before every period and comma. It only gets on the nerves of saner citizens.

  • R SJ on March 13, 2007, 14:28 GMT

    Kamran, i totally agree with u man...seriosuly...thats what we need from pak supporters.....GO PAKISTAN!

  • Imran Khan on March 13, 2007, 14:27 GMT

    True, one should hope for the best- but in that case why think of the aussies as threats (especially when they have been thrashed by kamran's minnows like New Zealand and England). Pakistan does have a chance (as have all the other 15 teams). And most of the team members sometime in their careers have given in outstanding performances- and if that one in hundred probability occurs- of all the players in the pakistan team coming into form, Pakistan can win. Afridi, Inzamam, Gul, Rana, each on their day can win matches. But then Mr Kamran, I can build similar scenarios for teams like Bangladesh and Ireland also. Right now, all I can say is- you are sticking your neck too far out, hold your enthusiasm- let at least the first round matches get over and lets see how the team performs, then we would have a far more realistic view, than merely flying kites.

  • Aziz Bari on March 13, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    Kamran,

    I am also very optimistic about Pakistan in this World Cup. But saying that Australia is the only obstacle in their way to lift the cup is rather naive. There are several other teams that will be tough to beat. They are all very hungry to win and have tons of experience.

    Doing well in the warm up games and beating SA is a very good omen. But that does not Guarantee anything in the rest of the tournament. It is a positive start and an excellent opportunity to build on. After losing in SA and then beating them so convincingly here, must give Pakistan tremendous confidence. The key is if they can carry it to the rest of the tournament. If they can, then they have as good a chance as any other team to win the cup. Their performance against WI will be the key.

    Their preparations have not been the best but they have some world class players supported by a cast of very good players. If they click together, as they seem to have now, and have some luck they should make to the semis. Once there, after overcoming so much adversity and some very good teams, their morale would be sky high and we may very well see them on the victory stand.

    I am optimistic. Go Pakistan.

    Aziz

  • madie bapela on March 13, 2007, 14:12 GMT

    I never thought that Pakistanis were so biased in their outlook on cricket from the sa/aus/nz/eng countries.

    I can safely say that you will be rudely surprised that sa will do the same thing they did for you in sa if they ever meet with you during the tournament - if you are that lucky to progress beyond the first round. I hope that you remember after the humiliation in the opening game against the WI.

    Good luck though

  • khalid on March 13, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    TRUE PAKISTAN'S SUPPORTER.

  • Henry on March 13, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    Surely headline should read "Only Pakistan block the road to victory". Pakistan has always had the most talented players. However their biggest problem is themselves as they play on emotion - once they are up they are unstoppable on their way to victory and once they are down they unstoppable on their way to defeat. So maybe you had the right heading as Australia are one team that never gives up. I know as I am still carrying the scars from having been at Edgbaston in 99.

  • HAIDER on March 13, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    Dear Pakistanis I wish you all best of luck and start enjoying the WC celebrations as we will win the first match as well as the last match of this tournament. I see final against India and this time win in a WC match is overdue. I will be very happy if sachin plays that match and will experience the diffrent outfit. Haider

  • Abhishek on March 13, 2007, 14:02 GMT

    I think I speak for the majority of true cricket fans when I say that what we all want is a real close thriller of a match between Pakistan and India in the Final!!

    and of course...India winning!! ;)

  • Anurag on March 13, 2007, 14:00 GMT

    If Pakistan wins today's game against the WI, then you can be sure they will reach the semi-final, if not then there chances will be as good as ny other team.

  • FahadQ on March 13, 2007, 13:59 GMT

    U-turn marna bund karein Kamran Bhai, you just thrashed our team barely 2 months ago. I guess the Pakistani in you is getting excited but do keep some patience if we end up loosing the opener.

  • wasim saqib on March 13, 2007, 13:59 GMT

    One game at a time,and every team is important,No team is invincible,the reason Kamran pointed out Australia bcz they are the only team which is not single Dimensional they can beat you in several different ways they can play a grinding game take ones and twos and accelerate at the right time, they can also shift gear and play explosively,In bowling their bowlers have been trained and capable of locking down any opposition but off late this is the only trait they are not doing consistently, strong teams will take advantage of their weak bowling, the key to beat them is to take them as any other team and play solid cricket without taking any pressure.And any team who wants to beat Australia or SA they have to be in their face,dont cry about sledging ,pushing and dirty stares give it back to them. These teams play mind games just stay focus and play your game according to situation dont lose your head. But we have to focus on todays match first batting will be the key to success,toss is crucial but not decisive factor,you have to make your adjustments mentally as the game progresses,the team which will make the adjustment effectively will win the game.

  • Roger bond on March 13, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    All theories of all the fans here are precceded with a big IF i.e If afridi fires the ...... IF sami bowls well then ........IF Inzanam/yousuf/younis dont fail...... then..... So many IFs that it reminds one of -- ---IF wishes were horses beggars would ride LOL:P

  • Abid Siddiqui on March 13, 2007, 13:51 GMT

    Australia will not even reach to semi's I think.

  • Santosh L on March 13, 2007, 13:50 GMT

    I am from India. Pakistan has always been talented, and in any tournament i won't mind seeing Australia - India rather than final/SF of Pakistan - India. But i think Pakistan lost the edge when Shoaib Akhtar did not make it to the sqaud. It would be very difficult for pakistan to defend totals due to lack of genuine match winning bowler. But you never know... Good Luck All, let the dance begin!!!

  • Kam on March 13, 2007, 13:50 GMT

    Not a bad article!! I am sure that your suttle word\'s will bring a lot of confidence to all those diehard Pakistan supporters. If only Pakistan can live up to their expectations and deliver. I would say that on paper Pakistan is one of the best teams in the world cup if not the best. We have many match winner\'s in the team, the only problem being only 1 or 2 will perform. If Pakistan could change that and maybe 3 or 4 performed to their potential then there is no reason why Pakistan won\'t be there in the Semi finals. Watch out for Hafeez, Inzi, Malik, Sami (not sure about him, but he will click), Azhar.

    May Pakistan play to their true potential and Inshallah lift the World Cup!! Ameen.........

  • Tony Blair on March 13, 2007, 13:49 GMT

    YES MUSHARRAF YOU CAN DO IT. ME AND BUSH ARE WITH YOU. cHeErS mAtE.

  • John stewart,Eng on March 13, 2007, 13:46 GMT

    Most of our paki fans are calculating wins against Eng/NZ/India as 100% guranteed wins because these teams are supposed to be weak. And when it comes to Aus/SA/SL the same fans are saying eventhough we are weak we have a 50/50 chance of beating them. Well if pakistan as weak team can upset others,why are you dismissing the problity of defeat from Ind/Eng/NZ even if they are considered weaker .

    Thats like applying selective logic and optimism wherever required and assuming no reversal will happen with pakistan but it will happen only with others. For gods sake ENG/NZ defeated Australia recently you feel they got no chance gagainst Pakistan. Thats ridiclous. Also India beat you 4-0 or 4-1 in you own homeground last year with asif and akthar both in your team.

  • Austin on March 13, 2007, 13:44 GMT

    In ur dreams .... Pak can never win the WC ... hope they enter the super 8 ...... nothing can happen ... no miracles ... u guyz keep oin dreaming .....he he

  • King Smith on March 13, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    What a bunch of muppits. Do you lot copy and paste? ... these are the same comments as before your SA tour!

    The only thing the team with the 'chokers tag' is going to do is choke their opposition - as they always do. Maybe thats what the tag means.

    But enjoy the WC as long as you can.

  • manzoor Ahmed on March 13, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    As described by the kamran in his statement that pakistan has the enough bowling attack which can make pakistan world champs.But i would like to share few comments as well.Westindies pitches are known for supportive for fast bowlers.Under these conditions bowlers of mid standard can also be proved as good a bowler.So the team should have the strength in their batting with adddition to the batting and fielding. Batsmen should have the ability to stay on the wicket so that to get the decsent total.Well this is my perception what i feel about the winning team.

  • desi on March 13, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    This guy is crazy. All these weeks he has been writing about Paks problems, the chaotic circumstances, injury to key players and now he fancies them to win world cup. Ha ha ...keep it up !!! Kamran, it seems you dont even read your own previously posted blogs.Afridi can win you a world cup with Azhar Mahmood....Wake up we are talking cricket world cup here..somebody closer to him please tell him ....at least he is wary of the Aussies...ha ha...

  • Afridi (India) on March 13, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    Kamran bakhwas bandh karo! daru piya hai kya?? you have lost your mind! Hindustan (India) world cup zitega, Pakistan nehi. Jiye Jiye Hindustan, Dravid, Sachin, Saurav, Dhoni zindabad! Jay Hind!

  • S.M.Khurram Quaseem on March 13, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    This is the first time Pakistan has to rely on their batsmen to win matches for them. I myself feel the strongest point of Pakistan team is being under-rated. They have young legs mixed with experienced minds. The only thing which seems a hurdle to me is skipper's mindset. Inzamam is not dare enough to read the opponent's mind and experiment things accordingly. Also he doesn't have the coolness of mind like you could find in Vaughn, and in the past see Steve Waugh. Also he is not leading the team with his performance like what Ponting is doing now and Imran did in the past.

    If I would be Inzi, I would select Imran Nazir, Hafeez(due to his current form only), Younis, Yousuf, Inzi, Shoaib Malik, Akmal, Azhar, Sami, Rao, Gul. I would drop Kaneria only for the reason W.Indians have several left handers and they play leg spin very efficiently too.

    Its about to start now. So no need to predict anything. Let's see!!!

    My all best wishes with Pakistan!

    S.M.Khurram.

  • George on March 13, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    Well if you are so optimistic then why did you spare Australia. Australia is definitely not the same team as it was in 2003.. So that should be an easy match for pak too..

    The heading of this article should have been - "PAK on the verge of World Cup Victory".

    If someone not aware of cricket reads this article, he might think that only world cup final is left and Pak is playing Australia in the final match and this article was written on the eve of final.

    Or did you write it now itself as you may not get a chance to write it then anyways..

  • Johnny B on March 13, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    Is saying your bowling attack is 'deceptively strong' another way of saying 'they've been rubbish so far, but I hope they'll surprise everyone now'?

    And the only reason your openers and bowling attack has the 'hunger' you talk about is because they've been so useless in the past. By that logic, Bangladesh and England should surely be favourites because they have even more to prove?

    Everybody wants their own team to win, but to suggest that Pakistan are somehow 2nd behind Australia is patently absurd.

    You're right that the pitches so far have suited Pakistan, and if they continue like they have then Australia and South Africa will probably struggle as their attacks are very pace orientd, however other teams are in a much stronger position than Pakistan, i.e. India and Sri Lanka.

    And if pace plays a part, there are at least 5 teams with better attacks.

    We can all see Pakistan causing the odd upset, and the Windies may be your best chance, but realistically you don't stand a chance of getting to the semi's.

  • Asif Ahmed on March 13, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    Thank you for writing an article in support of the team. This is exactly what they need at this point. If things don't go to plan, there will be plenty of time to dissect and criticize. But for now, we have to hope that our wishes and prayers come to fruition for this team, and I am glad that you have adopted this positive approach.

    I feel that we have a good chance of winning, and equate our injury losses to that of Waqar before the 1992 WC. In fact, I have a similar feeling now that I had during that tournament, that somehow, we will win this tournament.

    Inshallah Pakistan will lift the WC.

  • Zeeshan on March 13, 2007, 13:34 GMT

    We Will win.. Stop the talking.. Bring on West Indies..

  • Shaan Khan on March 13, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    Were you drunk when you wrote this article. You are as crazy as most of the Paki! Hamara India will beat Paki in semi-finals, so forget meeting Ausies, first beat India! which the Pakis never did in the world cup history.

  • Usman on March 13, 2007, 13:30 GMT

    Kamran i think you've written a good article. Infact i agree with most of the things that you wrote. The conditions are in favour of Pakistan. The slowness and low bounce of the pitches will help Pakistan. England is out question and so is Newzeland due to these pitches. If it was South African pitches i wont give Pakistan more than a 10% chance. It all depends on how they start the tournament. I think it will be a great match against West Indies and if Pakistan can pull off a convincing victory then i think they have a bright chance of doing good in the tournament. The teams that will pose problem for pakistan will be Srilanka, Australia and India. Even South Africa will struggle unless Pakistan do anything silly. So lets see what happens. All my prayers and support is for only Pakistan no matter what. Even if they dont win, it is understandable to get upset and do positive criticism but it is completely unfair to go beyond the limits. Lets all pray for the team and let the games begin!!!

  • nikunj on March 13, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    I doubt if pakistan is going to cross even the 1st stage forget abt winning the world cup.

  • vikas on March 13, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    All the cricketing greats are saying that any of the 8 teams could go on to win the world cup..I tend to agree with them..I think this is a very open world cup and Pakistan has a equal chance like the other 7 teams do..lets wait and watch

  • sushil on March 13, 2007, 13:24 GMT

    pakistan is invulneable team and surely win the world cup

  • George W. Bush on March 13, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Pervez Mushraf will win the World Cup

  • Jin on March 13, 2007, 13:20 GMT

    Kamran,I'm surprised at how you've plummeted from usually quality analysis to nonsensical following of the heart.Pakistan have a lot more to worry about than just Pakistan.Yes, its an open world cup because Aus,SA and India are strong as they are, and WI,NZ and SL are the surprise packages. Pak's WC team just got hammered in SA and without the top bowling guns and their best all rounder...well dont expect anything more than the Super 8

  • Black Crow on March 13, 2007, 13:17 GMT

    Yeah right.

    Mushtaq is better bowler than Warne, Farhat is the best batsman in the world, Pak team is the best team in the world.

    Yeah right.

  • Imran on March 13, 2007, 13:15 GMT

    Yep, ur crazy ! But keep the dream alive !

  • billyboy on March 13, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    you really are barking mad if you think Pakistan are going to win the world cup!! best go an dhave a lie down , so you dont watch them lose to WI; there are at least 5 teams that could win this, all depends on who hits form at the right time and even more so who keeps their heads at the crucial moments; Pakistan are even better at throwing away games than England, so I think the poster is suffering form totally blind optimism!!!

  • mukhtiar ahmed khan on March 13, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    Pakistan can beat eney team in the world. we need a captain like Imran khan, this time there is only one player who can lead paistan like Imran khan,and that is non other then Younas khan.If Younas and Shahid Afridi are at the best of there form Pakistan can win the cup.May Pakistan wins the world cup.................

  • Shahid Faruqui, Detroit on March 13, 2007, 13:12 GMT

    Yes I agree with you Kamaran...The caviet is they should not perform good in the early games ......for example beat West Indies convincingly too. If they do that, they might not make it to last four....an up and down performance can get you the trophy......of course they have to mange to keep on moving forward...Go Pakistan......Insha-Allah

  • mukhtiar ahmed khan on March 13, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    Pakistan can beat eney team in the world. we need a captain like Imran khan, this time there is only one player who can lead paistan like Imran khan,and that is non other then Younas khan.If Younas and Shahid Afridi are at the best of there form Pakistan can win the cup.May Pakistan wins the world cup.................

  • Mustafa on March 13, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    jeetay ga bhai jeetay ga pakistan jeetay ga

  • Biren on March 13, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    Dear Mr. Abbasi, you are indeed making a statement based more on hope and patriotism than on reality. Indeed, there is no questioning the classic middle order trio of Pak team, but the rest are just too inconsistent to help the team win a tournament. On a given day, Afridi can win you a match, but he can never win you a world cup. When more than half the team comprises of people who have a "lot to prove", you are in trouble. You are raising hopes of millions at this stage, and then when they will fail to lift the cup (as they surely will), all of you will call them names and ask for their heads - including that of great Inzy, forgetting his services to his nation. Why not get realistic and accept that you are not the among the best in this tournament?

    Biren

  • Naz on March 13, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    Kamran for sure is being optimistic with his insight into Pak cricket, but no less than the media in the UK as an example, or the dribble coming from India - if Cricket was played in the media these two sides would make the Finals everytime.

    Hard to say who will win it as the newly laid wickets raise too many questions of how they will play and who they will suit.

    I think Kamran's point was that the Pak team, like the others has no less a chance and on their day only Australia could still beat them due to their sheer talent and mental strength. The warm up matches prove little, yet show you ODI cricket is dependent on the day...even Eng could surprise you, here we're talking about Pak who have better talent....

    For those backing Windies in today's match really are optimistic....as they are no more consistent than Pak, probably worse at times!

    Aussies favourite.....the rest follow.

  • Imran Khan on March 13, 2007, 12:56 GMT

    Realistically realistically .....success for pakistan in a tournament depends on winning the toss...crucial...because you need to have wicket takers to stop the other team from chasing your total down.. secondly..in a seven game super eight ..pakistan has a better chance to get into the semi-finals if they manage to beat one of southafrica, india or australian team..

  • Arbaz on March 13, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    Thank you Kamran!!! You're actually supporting Pakistan! Don't know why people are against the team. We should encourage the team like you are!

  • Josh on March 13, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    I appreciate a journalist who is willing to be positive about his team's chances rather than taking the easy and well-path of prepetual cynicism. Having said that, Pakistan have no chance, I reckon they are the least likely of the eight major sides to lift the trophy.

  • sk on March 13, 2007, 12:51 GMT

    Dear Abbasi Hungry or Hunger for runs, Crazy or lunacy doesnt make a team second to the best, its the performance and results that will.

    I hope your wishes will come true.

  • Soul on March 13, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    Guys,

    I hope Kamran's predictions come true. But unfortunately I have a bad feeling about the game with Ireland. With Pakistan known for loosing to minows and Ireland with good seam attack, it is very predictable that Pakistan may loose this game. I hope this will not be the case, but don't be surprised!!!!

  • Najam Butt on March 13, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    Well Kamran, old bean... you are a raving lunatic. Who are these Aussies. No one stands in Pakistan's way... we're gonna win the cup!

    Najam

  • Arsalan on March 13, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    One must keep in mind, it is only when pakistan have been cornered that they have performed to no ones expectations. Same is the case here, with them being the most under rated team, im sure the players would be able to prove all their critics wrong.

    Let the games begin, and we shall see what the teams are made of, good luk to my Pakisatni team!

  • Nurul Aziz Khan on March 13, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    Let the best performing team win ....After all only performance count .... Is there space for emotion in cricket ?

  • Rehan on March 13, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Are you a flaming patriot without regard for reality? Yes, but who cares? One need only read the exuberance coming from all corners, "West Indies could win it all," "India: Will they lose a match?," "England: The Darkhorse," "Sri Lanka: 1996 Redux," "Australia: Back to back to back Champions," to be sick of the partisanship. Let the haters cry, why shouldn't everyone be optimistic today? Everyone is undefeated...

  • khansahab on March 13, 2007, 12:46 GMT

    Pakistanis are not good at learning from their mistakes or neighbours. I am addicted to Indian media and channels like many Pakistanis. For the past month I have been observing Indian people’s comments about the WC. Normal public, film stars, politicians, everyone has been interviewed. They have all been unanimous in declaring that India will definitely win the WC. Everyone with a general awareness of cricket knows that South Africa and Australia are likely to beat India but Indian people are still sidelining this probability and giving full support to their team. This is a mental tactic meant to ameliorate their team’s passion and confidence.

    Pakistanis, please learn something. Yes I am aware that India has been in strong form lately but unless our players feel “wanted” and know that their fans support them, they will not feel positive about their game. My message to the big 3 and Malik is that they should play their natural game. However, Nazir, Hafeez , Mahmood and Afridi should unleash hell and just play with passion. Kaneria should continue his aggression and just spin the ball as much as possible. Gul, Sami, Rao and Rana should bowl fast and furious but always remember to employ variation in their attack at times too just to unsettle the batsmen. It is imperative that Sami & co change their body language; they need to appear intimidating and I think they should also sledge in this tournament.

    I am a harsh critic of almost everything that goes on in Pakistani cricket but now, focusing on negatives will not help. Remember Imran’s cornered tigers- he told Wasim Akram, the star of the final, to bowl fast and furious and put mind over matter in order to overcome any obstacle. Mr Abbasi will agree with me that Sami and Rana, the inconsistent lot, are likely to try their very best. Something tells me their trials may work wonders.................

  • Haroon Rao on March 13, 2007, 12:45 GMT

    Kamran very true and one should always see the positives. No one should state blidly that Pakistan has poor chance of winning.

  • sameer on March 13, 2007, 12:45 GMT

    i think article written by kamran is a wishful think rather than a fact..i feel that pakistan is one of the weakest team in the tournament and even zimbabe will b rearing to have a go against them..just bcoz they won warm up matches, it doesnt prove any thing substantial...forgot everything and be sure that pakistan is going to loose against windes today and then you will realize the true potential of pakistan team which is lead by an uninspiring inzmam-ul-haq

  • Syed Asif Reza Naqvi,Pakistan on March 13, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    I agree with abbasi that despite their recent fluctuating fortunes(wich actually i consider a fabrication n quite intentional) Aussies are the most threatening side of this tournament.their most enlightening aspect is that they dont lose faith easily and fight till the last moment.A consistant water-fall can make a hole a solid rock.it simply means that will-power would pave the right result for you.Aussies got a great edge over other teams in the shape of Ponting.hes great with the bat n hes so strong psychologically,just perfect to be a captain.he knows that its a hat-trick chance for his team to lift the trophy and the Aussies are best-placed for this under his leadership.

    Pakistan is a blend of youth n experience.they can defeat any team of the world if they are backed psychologically.a rising trend of wins in their pocket can make them damn confident for the next games and thats why this first game against the windies has become so important for them.they dont look like absolute winners,but they aret soft nutts to crack either.another thing wich supports paki uprise in this world up is that they are not rated this time.cricket pundits are taking them as under-dogs,its good for the pakis.

  • Shahid on March 13, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    InshaAllah. Hate it or love it the underdogs on top. We gonna shine hommie till our heart stops. Go ahead envy we (Pakistan). We are the crickets MVP. Hate it or love it underdogs on top. Coming to the cup we were confused our bowlers poppin some drug. But confusion occurs coming up in a cold world. Shoaiby aint around probably out commitin felonies. Out favorite captain use to sing "ch ch check out my cornered tiger's" melody. We aint going anywhere so you better get to know We (Pakistanis).

    Go Pakistan Go.

    Thanks Shahid.

  • Tony on March 13, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    Good luck to Pakistan and all the other teams but Australia are certainly favorites. Their 2 losses against England came at the end of a very long summer of absolute domination in both the test and 1 day games and they sent a severely under-strength team to NZ. (I mean no disrespect to NZ they played extremely well). Of course there are several teams capable of upsetting Australia but at their best they are awesome and they tend to be at their best for the big matches.

  • IMRAN on March 13, 2007, 12:30 GMT

    Every1 has a opinion and every1 has a right to back he/her team.So stop critising mr Abassi..there are 16 teams and mayu the best team Win..however a Pakistan - India final would be awesome..let the games begin..

  • Mohsin Gheewala on March 13, 2007, 12:29 GMT

    All i can say is PAKISTAN ZINDABAD !!!!!

    :-)

    Best of luck to all the Pakistani supporters and our team!!

    We are with you all the way..

    go get 'em boys

  • Sameen Rana on March 13, 2007, 12:25 GMT

    Kamran , Finally you are right .. after hearing commentys from Ex cricketors one wondor weather they are supporting pakistan or working against . or they are only worried about Bob and Inzi ...probably they want to get paid same as Bob or they just want to say things so that tomorrow if pakitan loss they can says that that what i said ... It very unfortunate that we do not work as a nation and support the things which are in national interest .. Its seems we are too individualistic ... and when it came from National heros its disturbing ... I understand that pakistan will miss the services of SA , MA and AR but then cricket is a game of 11 players.. People are writing them off because of their SA tour performance .. But i am surprised that how come on the basis of one bad tour one can decide about the future of a team .. i mean australia lost to NZ as well... and dont forget that pakitan is no 3 team in the world better than INDIA who's media is claiming that they just need to visit the ground to won this WC.. If that one tour is the criteria then look at India's results 5-0 one day whitewash with full strength TEAM INDIA ?? but the good thing is that there midia is supporting them and trying to concentrate on the positives only (rather dreaming)...

    I do not know weather we will won the WC or not but the no 3 team in the world is no 3 because of their performance not because of your Patriotism. as suggested by some above

  • Shahid on March 13, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    Mr. Kamran.....you seem to be obsessed with this "hungry" lot, No wonder, Inzy should have led them to a restaurant and no to the Caribbean where they promise to become the laughing stock of the world. You see, this team can beat ALL when it comes to stupidity. Leave aside the discussion about who should or should not have been on the plane to the WI. We will see that they will baffle even Mr. Kamran with their team selection for the matches. All the wrong players will end up being selected for the games and we will be stuck with an unbalanced side. And all of us will go to bed thinking along the same, old lines: Why did n't they pick A over B, why was C sent to bat at 4 when he should have been in at 6 and all that. Let's hope this team makes it to the Super Eights and does not limp home as they did in 2003. When it comes to plunging depths, there's no one like them.

  • Imran Mohammed on March 13, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    Lets be like Kamran and think positively, we can help Pakistan keep its confidence by supporting the boys. However I think its not just Australia who stand in the way. We have never beaten India at the World Cup, South Africa as very dangerous and West Indies are playing at home and desperate to fire. Australia are not the be-and-end-all of cricket opposition nowadays.

  • Naeemullah Khan on March 13, 2007, 12:22 GMT

    dear kamran>>>>>I think team is still well balnace and we should back the team. I am very much hopful all boys will do well and today's match 60/40 in favour of Pakistan.

  • Cricket on March 13, 2007, 12:19 GMT

    Seeing the current form of all test playing nations, Anbody who follows Cricket knows that there is not even outside chance for Pakistan. :(

  • Pappan Nair on March 13, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    I must say you are over enthusiastic my dear freind. Well, No doubt Pakistan is a strong side and would be hard to beat. But Its not only Pakistan that would be the case with all the top teams. None of the team has an edge aagainst the opponents. I am a bit hesistant to agree to your comment that Australia is the only team to block Pakistans road to the tittle. Australia's batting is not a worry but bowling is a cause for concern. They managed to score 320 plus in both the games agaisnt NZL (Without Ricky,Gilly,Symonds and few others) still failed to defend the score. It shows their bowling depth is only a shadow of their bowling attack in 2003WC. This would be the morale booster for the likes of NZL, India and SL. My rating for pakistan is only 5 out of ten.The toughest in the WC could be from AUS, NZL and IND.

  • Muhammad Haris on March 13, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    InshaAllah!! We will rock the World Cup!!

    Pakistan Zindabad!! :)

  • Zakir Khan, Ireland on March 13, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    Kamran Sahib U endorsed precisely what I have been saying in ur previous blogs.this World Cup is for Pak.everybody will see it at the end of the tournament.I am not a die hard Pak cricket lover but my judgement is based on the realities.West Indian pitches are going to support sub continent sides and I believe Pak team has got all the ingredients(though by accident) to lift the trophy.spiners and medium pacers will play a vital role in this tournament. we have spinners and medium pacers in abundance and no express pace bowlers. secondly, we don't have the bad influence of Shoaib Actor in the team.it will really be a huge boost for the team. thirdly,there is no pressure on Inzi and his players as they know that nobody is expecting them to win and fourth reason is the fact that we don't have the egoistic & finished superstars in our current side,unlike 2003 world cup,so expect the unexpected from these young guns who want to prove themsleves in the big arena under united leadership of Inzi. so Guys for my money get ready for the big celebrations on 28th of April and ,ofcourse,don't forget my predictions when U are celebrating the success.LOL LETS SUPPORT OUR SIDE AND STOP CRITICISING THEM 4 A WHILE. Go Pak Tigers and make us proud once more

  • Aftab...Lahore on March 13, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    Your blog is what the Pakistani team needed at this time. With every tom, dick and harry coming out of the woodworks to hassle and criticise the team your comments are a breath of fresh air..I have one question to ask all the pundits and ex cricketers who moan the fact that we dont have any good openers. Pray tell me which if any opener in the country has been overlooked. When e give credit to Imran for winning the 1992 world cup please remeber it was due to performances from the like of Inzi, Wasim and Miandad. So lets not pile up all the rubbish on Inzi. The guy must be having sleepless night with the pressure built up through media by all these ex cricketers who would do better to remember some of their performances while playing for Pakistan....I am sure the boys will do us proud...

  • Basim Anis on March 13, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    As they say in Urdu, "Dil bahlanay kay liay khayal acha hai Ghalib". its not that i dont want the team to win, there would be no one in Pakistan who would not be saying a silent prayer, pleeding to Allah (the Almighty) to bestow us with sucess. And i am the same, but when it comes to reality, we all know, if it happens, its gonna be a miracle. rather miracle is a small word to describe it. but again, it happened in 1992, and we cant hope that to be happening every time. Kamran i respect ur words and ur feelings, but u may act up as a culprit, yes u are acting in that manner, almost the whole nation has given up hope on winning it, infact our expectations are not very high, rather i have no expectation from the team currently. even if they would make it to the second round, i would feel satisfied. but kamran, u out of no where is trying to create that spark in the ppl, ur tring to make ppl expect something from the team. i guess i have gone through the phase where u expect a lot and achieve nothing, and that really hurts, this attitude of making the nation expect where there are no reason for such can really be bad for cricket in Pakistan. we should all think on that aspect, and think logically, its never 2 late but we need to focus on the future of this game in the county. i still remember the 96 world cup and the 99 one, where i being in my teens had everest high expectation from our tigers, not achieving the glory is something else but playing like a minnow is something which makes u fire up in anger, i had faced my expectations being shattered and am in no position to watch them shattering again. i have no expectations from the team coz if i build one up, and watched them shattered again could take me miles away from cricket. and believe me, i am not the only one who think this way. But may Allah give us that glory again, if not this time, may be in the next one, if not in that may be in the next after that, prayers and hope are all we can have, but are they enough?

  • ;ustafa on March 13, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    you really know how to cheer up pakistani fans.......lol... too good... i am cheered ... I can already see inzi holding the big trophy

  • Praveen on March 13, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    Why not wait until your team meet India somewhere down the line ! Maybe the opinion might change;then !

  • gopinathan on March 13, 2007, 12:07 GMT

    hey guys don't u all have any idea abt cricket... every body is saying if afridi fires, if naveed fires, if gul fires... but the fact is no one is firing man... just see there recent form... they are lagging with a big all rounder razzak. so that they have went for the old horse azar mohammed. Remember according to ur words if he fires, if he fires even canada can lift the world cup as davison fires up with a brilliant 111 in the previous cup... so every body speak as a journalist better than with a patriotism... according to me the team which has greater chances are AUS, SA, India, NZ and Pak... the reason why NZ is in the list is they have better number of ALL rounders than PAk... hope a SUBCONTINENT country Lifts the CUP

  • Asif Saleem on March 13, 2007, 12:06 GMT

    Kamran, i am a true patriot, but i believe right now you are betting on the team too much.

    i dont agree that Australia is the only challenge. There are six good teams in this world cup and any one can win.

  • sumit roychowdhury on March 13, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    All the best to the Pakistani Team for their inaugural match.I am sure they will miss out on Afridi, Sohaib and Asif but none the less they are a talented lot and will defiantly put up a splendid performance and fight like they do .. to the last ball. Knowing the nature of the game...May the Best team on the day win.

  • Ghulam Haider on March 13, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    Dear Kamran I have read your article on Pakistan's prospects of winning the cricket World Cup. I strongly disagree with your optimism. As a specialist writer on Cricket, why you have written off Sri Lanka and India – both of them among favourites to win the prestigious tournament. Pakistan has excellent in their armoury – towering batsmen with proven records – but who will substitute its fielders with greasy palms. To make matters worst, the notorious tag of inconsistency will continue to haunt our national outfit and its ardent supporters across the globe. I salute you for your prediction in advance if, fortunately, Inzamam lifts the Cricket World Cup and starts his address audience in the name of Almighty in the Caribbean.

    Ghulam Haider Islamabad

  • Chief Justice on March 13, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    kamran, may be your right.Who knows...........

  • SandKar on March 13, 2007, 12:01 GMT

    The only roadbloacks to Pakistan in this worldcup are Ireland and Zimbabwe !

  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on March 13, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    @ JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA.

    Fair enough! But lets concentrate on the substance of the message. Did we not expect something similar in the recent Champions Trophy? The exit from that competition was very humiliating.

    No matter how one dresses this up, this team looks great on paper and in theory but it has the tendency to throw it away. It lacks metal and courage! Personally I think we will be lucky to get to the super eight stage.

    Comon' lets get real! We are at the bottom pile of the test playing nations even though the official statistics don't reflect this.

  • Robbo on March 13, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    Pakistan are pathetic and you talk about this much vaunted middle order if they do come across Australia they will be crumbling faster than you can say it

  • Rauf on March 13, 2007, 11:53 GMT

    There is no point in being realist at this point. We do need to think possitively like Kamran.

  • Bhavin on March 13, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    Unfortunately you're sadly mistaken, misguided, blind and stark raving mad. The tournament and pakistans performance will prove this

  • Noman Ahmed Khan on March 13, 2007, 11:51 GMT

    To back up my gut feeling about Pakistan chances, lets look at why I am optimistic on Pakistan chances: Its absolutely imperative that Pakistan beat WI in the group match and carry the two points forward to Super eight. If Pakistan can do that (which they should keeping in view the recent history of matches between the two sides) they face the prospect of meeting 6 other top teams and here are Pakistan's chances then.

    1.Out of two matches against Sri Lanka and India, atleast one win is a likely scenario. Its hard to imagine Pakustan losing to both South Asian rivals. 2. England and NZ have never ever troubled Pakistan on batsmen friendly pitches which we are likely to get in WI. Pakistan have comfortably beaten both the teams even without the services of Shoaib and Asif. Neither of these two teams have enough quality bowlers to bowl on docile pitches. I think Pakistan can get maximum points out of these two fixtures. 3. Winning against Australia (and to some extent South Africa) is not as simple. Though by winning the warm-up against SA, Pakistan may just have placed themselves in a slightly better position than the one they were in after their last ODI series humiliation. In a worst case scenario, lets assume that Pakistan loses both these matches. Even then, with 4 wins in 7 matches in a pool of 8, Pakistan should qualify for the Semis. I think the above assumptions are fairly pragmatic. Semis and finals are totally different ball games and I wont dare to venture into any analysis or guessing.

    This shows that backing Pakistan for a place in the semis is not all lunacy. Even a half sane performance from Pakistan is good wnough to take them to Semis.

  • Omer Gulzar on March 13, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Thanks Kamran Bhai for writting positive about Pakistan Cricket, I only know that we should support Pakistani team at this time instead of criticising them. They will play for Pakistan and we all know that this Pakistani team is far better then 1992 team so why we can't lift trophy. Inshallah we will reach semis

  • mustafa Niaz on March 13, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of there dreams. Well at last we have some thing to cheer about i strongly agree with Kamran we have the fire power to shock the world all we need is discipline and commitment .

  • Khurram on March 13, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Too much conjecture without much evidence, faith cannot compensate for the ineptitude of our team. We might win a few, but winning the world cup would require more than our collective faith in the team.

  • Umar on March 13, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Frankly I would be more than happy if PAK reaches semifinals. I don't expect anything more than that from them. Our fast bowling is weak. All our hopes lie on so-called "all-rounders" (more like bits and pieces players) none of them is world class by the way. But anyway, I wish PAK good luck!

  • Roger bond on March 13, 2007, 11:46 GMT

    oh yes sure and Iran will defeat USA in war, and afghanistan will be the new silicon valley, and Saudi arabia will be the new hollywood and somalia will be next financial superpower and Russia will have hot summers for 11 months a year

  • Ayaz F. Farooqi on March 13, 2007, 11:45 GMT

    Wow! Kamran is an eternal optimist and his words must have risen the confidence of the die-hard supporters of Pakistan team. I wish, just like the rest of the fans, that his encouraging words and despairing hopes come true and the players have the guts and burning desire in their belly to take this world cup campaign towards a meaningful climax.

  • senthil on March 13, 2007, 11:45 GMT

    that's a good joke :-)

  • Ghulam Haider on March 13, 2007, 11:45 GMT

    DearKamran I have read your rticle on Pakistan's prospects of winning the cricket World Cup. I strongly disagree with your optimism. As a specialist writer on Cricket, why you have written off Sri Lanka and India – both of them among favourites to win the prestigious tournament. Pakistan has excellent in their armoury – towering batsmen with proven records – but who will substitute its fielders with greasy palms. To make matters worst, the notorious tag of inconsistancy will continue to haunt the our national outfit and its ardent supporters across the globe. I salute you for your prediction in advance if, fortunately, Inzamam lifts the Cricket Wrold Cup and starts his address audience in the name of Almighty in the caribbean.

  • Robert on March 13, 2007, 11:43 GMT

    Well with the way Pakistan have played comming into this world cup, I would say any organized side will be a mountain to overcome. That said, overcome one and the next doesn't seem that daunting.

    I can't think of any easy game against any of the test playing nations. Surely nobody expects a walk over vs Eng/NZ/SA/SL/WI/Ind or even the likes of Kenya or Bangladesh. Everyone is a tough game.

    Every game won will make that passage to the final all that more real. But expecting a victory over Australia to hand you the world cup... Think again, because if that were the case it will be NZ vs Eng in the final. With both recording 3 out of 3 in their last games vs Australia, who is your money on.

  • Usman on March 13, 2007, 11:40 GMT

    What if Pakistan loses to WI today, then beats Ireland, and loses to Zimbabwe. They should be worried by WI and Zimbabwe, and not be worrying about Australia quite yet. Would be really embarrassing if they didn't even make the next round.

    Then again, they could meet Australia in the final. Bat first, be all out for 132. And Australia could chase those runs down with nearly 30 overs to spare. Now that would be ever so slightly less embarrassing.

    Hang on. That already happened. Back in 1999.

  • Mohammad Omer on March 13, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    Inshallah pakistan will win. I dont know what plus and minus points you ppl are talking about Pakistan, the only plus which Pakistan has and no other team is the amounts of DUAS(prayers) they get. I pray with Yousuf's Barkat...Allah honor us with WC win....and you hopeless ppl who just like criticism and negative passimist approach......just be positive in your life for once.....Inshallah Pakistan'll win!!

  • PChar on March 13, 2007, 11:38 GMT

    Pakistan are most dangerous when they are at their unpredictable best... wheneverr they have been billed as favs they have not lived upto it... Their strength in this world cup is the slow bowling alrounders... they should extract maximum value from that bunch... they should make the semi's if their batsmen make the adjustment for the slow pitches... failure to do that caused India to get a 4-1 tharshing from WI last year...

    But one of the most open world cup, we really cannot pin point a MOST LIKELY winner at the start of the tournament... even Bangladesh may cause an upset or 2...

  • Shamee Mohammed Shafeeq.H on March 13, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    I just now found out the height of optimism after reading that particular article, i can only salute his patriotism and pity at his predictions.As far as Pakistan is concerned they'll heavily rely on their two Batting mainstay Inzy And Yousuff who are two genuine match winners and Quality players , i dont find any other quality player in the pakistan line up who have the techinique to cope up with pitches when they go out of the subcontinent.And as far as Bowling is concerned u cannot rely on anyone on a particular day one might fire ... there is no match winning abilites inthe bowling line up of pakistan ,with the absence of Shoaib and Asif .if Pakistan is to reach Semifinal its a bonus and either of the two inzy or yousuff will have to play exceptionally well for them to reach there ...

  • BAJWA on March 13, 2007, 11:34 GMT

    Kamran yaar...App ki har baat mein sachai hai...InshaALLAH PAK will come back to Pakistan with the World Cup in their hands... Guys, no tension...Bhangraaa Paawooo....

  • Reginald Andrews on March 13, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    Well it looks like somebody paid you or threatened you that all of a sudden you are very optimistic about Pakistan's victory. But there are how many ifs in that. Let alone lifting the trophy, first clear the first hurdle of reaching the super 8 stage, which itself is doubtful considering that Shoaib, Asif and Razzaq are not there. These three and Afridi would have definitely bowled 80% of the overs. Now you expect the second rate bowlers who would not have been in the side, had these four been there, to do better than even these bowlers. Wishful thinking. Yes, the batting is the only thing this team can bank on. Bowling wise they are zip. Once they lose to West Indies in the opener which is two hours from now, they will find it even hard to get past the two minnows in the side. As one comment said Afridi emulating Kapil's 175 not out, yes it will be in the third game which Pakistan will be playing by which time they would be ready to pack up and return to Pakistan being 0 - 2 down. Any way good luck. As they say "har kutthey ke din aate hain" Hope for the best

  • RD on March 13, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    Hi Everybody, It is is wishful thinking, past records and current form of the team suggest some thing else.Team doesn't have pacers like 2 Ws (Wasim is just outstanding while Waqar is enigma of Subcontinent cricket) nor leader is like Imaran. Inzi is most gentle and respected batsman from Pakistan and I love watching his batting though being Indian but unfortunately he doesnt have killing instinct which is so natural in cricketers of Pakistan.By no way, Danish will be effective as expected. His record suggest that he is a poor bowler in ODI. God-willing they will win against all the odds but not out of their merits.

  • Ali Waheed on March 13, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    Reading your blog was a surprise never expected you of all people to say those things because i maybe wrong here but you often criticize the team for the heck of it. I dont totally agree with you since i think its not just australia we should be wary of, but i do agree this team has a lot more of a chance to go all the way than our team in 2003 for one simple reason that team was split in groups this though is a team which is totally committed and backs Inzi to the hilt. Lot of people say the bowling is weak i agree it is weaker when you consider no Asif in the line up but it is far from weak and those who think and write Pakistan off can do at their own peril, need i remind what happened when last this side was written off when they set of for India some called it the weakest side ever to visit India they let the result do the talking this world cup i dont think would be much different and all those who write us off are in for a shock.

  • Ahmed Shaikh on March 13, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    It's too early to predict who will win the match. A day dreamer like Kamran Abbasi's prediction may prove wrong even. Let the first ball to be bowled and see the position of Pakistan and others where they stand.

    Have fun guys and enjoy the game of cricket and leave all predictions aside.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on March 13, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    Kamran Sahib I do agree with you that Australia is the only team that will pose any real threat to pakistan's chances of winning the world cup. The fact that the wickets will lend some support to the subcontinent teams will really negate the advantages that South Africa had over Pakistan and India when these two toured South Africa recently. South Africans have never performed well in the subcontinent and may find the going tough in the West Indies, and so would many other teams like Australia, Englad and of course the New Zealanders.

    This World Cup as it seems is very open and I for one feel that the 3 subcontinent teams will be tough to beat and I see spin to play a big part in the West Indies, so would the big hitters like Imran, Dhoni, Shahid, Sehwag, Azhar, Gilchrist, SymondsJ. Oram, Flintoff and so on.

    As regards our team well I think we could have put up a better side than the one we have in the West Indies now, having said that I must also mention that even this side can do wonders and kamran Sahib I will once again agree with you that much will depend on how the captaing uses his his fire power. He has to be very methodical and brave, must lead from the front and should utilize the power plays to his advantage, enhance his bowling sence and stay away from his usual favouritism habbits. He must only play the deserving eleven and not the faces that he likes be it bearded or non bearded guys. If Inzamam does all this then we have every reason to win the Cup and Insha Allah we will, May Allah be with our team (Amin).

    Rgds/ pakigreen

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 13, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    Chacha Koora Kirkit

    You have done the Koora Karkat of Ghalib's poetry as well.

    It is NOT :

    'Hum ko maloom hai janaat kee haqeeqat leikin.. dil ko khoosh rakhnay kay liyay yeh khayal acha hai...''

    BUT, it is:

    Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat laikin ..... Dil kay khush rekhnay ko Ghalib yeh khayal accha hai

  • Noman Ahmed on March 13, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    Kamran! you can count me as one of your fellow lunatic. Despite every conceivable (plus even a lot of inconceivable) problems hindering Pakistan in the leadup to WorldCup, there is increasingly dominant gut feeling that something big is around the corner for Pakistan (InshaAllah). If Inzamam could muster even half the courage and quarter the captaincy skills that Imran possessed, Pakistan still have enough ammo to make a valiant stand. We Pakistanis have already endured more than our fair share of hardships in every walk of life and its time that Insha Allah some of our lost joy and pride return.

  • Ray Julius on March 13, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    This was really a funny article. As Pak has great players. They never perform on a regular basis. And that will be there downfall. What makes you think they'll win?? The fact that they just won a 13 a side man warm up game?? I think it'll be Aus vs SL / Ind Final. Don't even see Pak in the semi's.

  • Kamran on March 13, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    i reckon the surprise packagethis time is our openers imran and hafeez for some reason I have a feel they are going to be the reason of pakistan winning the matches as tehy will give good starts a strange feeling that they will perform,,,,,,,,, although quite used to see the pakistan score at 15 overs 60 for 3 or 50 odd for 2 but still pakistan goes on to score but this time i reckon we might see 100 for 0

  • Irfan A Awan on March 13, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    Al Hamdulillah this is the first time I read something which somehow encourages the Pakistani nation, as well as team to boost their moral.

  • Mubashir Hanif on March 13, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    Assalamoalikum! I dont know how many of the guys who comment really have first hand experience in cricket? I still enjoy playing cricket. I can tell you if you think that my previous comment was over-inspirational in your last blog that, this team has got what it takes to be the champs. I wont be surprised if they pave their way all the way, up to the top. In cricket when it comes down to the wire, its a question of nerves. I think we have the nerves and the back-up of 1.5 billion souls at least :). To win or to loose is a part of game, I insist on unity, if this group of feathers can flock together, you will definitely see them flying high. Its time now. Pakistan Zinda baad. WC 2007 belongs to PAKISTAN inshallah. Just wait and see as the just bit of extra touch this unit has is the touch of spirituality, you know what I mean?

  • Malcolm J Speed - Dubai on March 13, 2007, 11:21 GMT

    Kamran, I would like too see after Pakistan's match against Zimbabwe. Then you will understand how many teams will block Pak chances.

  • Lothar on March 13, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    Yusuf is the only batsman Pakistan has got who can play in all the conditions... Inzi too has problems against genuine fast bowling (check how much does Inzi averages against the Aussies) If you think Younis-Inzi-Yousuf are the best, ponder this: Ponting-Hussey-Hayden Vaughan-Flintoff-KP C'paul-Gayle-Lara Saurav-Sachin-Rahul (All 10k plus runs in ODIs) Gibbs-Smith-Kallis Sanath-Mahela-Sangakkara If you take the complete Pakistani batting, you will find batsmen with serious technical problems barring Yousuf and Inzi. All the best to Pakistan, but be realistic

  • Parvez Musharaff on March 13, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    I wish pakistan all the best. But I really want them to lose this match and all upcoming matches. This drug team do cup.

  • Kiran on March 13, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    Too much expectations from the Pakistani team. I hope the writer knows there are total 16 teams and not just Australia and Pakistan.

  • khansahab on March 13, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Mr Abbasi, First of all, thanks to Allah. Sir, God bless you for constantly keeping this blog alive. I do not blame you for showing excitement at this stage. Inzi’s “cornered sheep” have something to prove indeed. They are young, they are raw but they are also massively talented. A number of them may only be a shadow of what they were once upon a time, but this WC may be the opportunity they need to be their old selves. There is a “Jazba Junoon” factor in the team at the moment and that may well cause Pakistan to tumble the mighty Indians and South Africans. Yes, all teams are hungry for success. Yes, this is the most competitive tournament in history as all teams have been dangerously impressive in the past two years. But what fuels Pakistani cricket is not playing to the potential, but doing something remarkable, something out of the ordinary; performing the highly improbable. Tell me fellow fanatics! What do you think will work in Pakistan’s favour? Mental strength? They don’t possess any in the sense as it is known to most people. Reason? Pay & Do’s are devoid of reason. Judicious approach to batting and shot selection? Pakistani openers will never learn that! Discipline in their cricket? Pakistani’s are genetically undisciplined cricketers- that won’t work too. But all this won’t work in the sense as it is known to most people. Mental strength? I ask you, what attribute is that, possessed by Australia, in front of the adrenaline-pumping moments which fuel Afridi’s and Nazir’s aggression? What is “reason” in front of Nazir’s and Afridi’s madness? The ability to smack hard every ball, to look at the other team’s bowler in the eye and send dangerous signals and obliterate confidence. Pakistani players need to shatter confidence of other teams. They need to win the war of passion. They do not have the tactics which consistent teams have but they have the raw passion and the “underdog” tag. Pakistan is the most passionate cricketing country in the world. It is a poor country with countless problems but a country with copious “Jazba Junoon.” Time to defy norms and stereotypes. Passion, hunger, the ability to do the extraordinary and defy stereotypes is what will take Pakistan far. A message to everyone- stop having a go at Mr Abbasi and let him say what he wants to say. We all have our reasons and justifications for asserting things. Unite in purpose and support the team. I am no fan of Inzi’s leadership or Pakistani team management, but our players need our undivided support right now.

  • avideep on March 13, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    CRAP is all i can say...stop day dreaming Kamran...Pakistan this time round can only dream to have a fight with the minnows....am a great fan of Pak cricket team...but this time round they are at best a bunch of club cricketers barring Mohd Yousuf and Inzy...

  • Muhammad Ashfaq Ur Rehman(Dubai) on March 13, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    I don't think i need to harp the same things what most of my friends have already pointed out.What left is "Confidence"which is the problematic area for pakis, they overcome that problem when they are badly down and are left with only hopes then they deliver what other can't.I agree with "mental toughness" terminology which metculously dictate distinguishs from physical machanics.I say if Inzi's 11 have controled their nerves & come out of conciousness phobia they would be unbeatable force. Best wishes for all the readers & of course for my Pakistan.

  • kunal on March 13, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    hey - all you losers can go on and on with your positive hopes that Pakistan will win the world cup. The fact is quite simple - there is only 1 team in the world worthy of that trophy and that is AUSTRALIA. If you think after loosing 5 matches in a row that is going to make a difference - its only false hopes. They will come back like wonded tigers - worse than ever before. You guys are like a man drowning in water looking at grabbing straws. Grow up, be practical - look at it from your mind and analyse the situation. YOU GUYS WILL GET YOUR BUTTS KICKED. Insha Allah - you will get common sense soon.

  • Ahmad Saeed on March 13, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    I believe without your main strike bowlers, how do u expect PAK to win. Inzi has been in poor form since last 6 months. His leadership is questionable as well. I blame PCB if Pakistan fails to reach semi finals. They failed to take proactive measures by simply waiting for miracles to happen overnight. But still back my team and want them to give their utmost regardless what result we have..Just go and fight like tigers-guys-just like in world cup 2002 and bring us victory.

  • shabir khan,Milan,Italy on March 13, 2007, 11:12 GMT

    High dreamy optimisim guys. To win the WC a team has to defeat one good team in the group stage,5 teams in super 8,and then again 2 teams out of these 5 teams in SF and final. Which means at some stage the team has to win 4 matches in a row atleast. We have not won more than 2 matches in a row for nearly 18 months. We got hammered 4-1 by India,3-1 by SA and luckily we have not come across SL or Aus. To win the WC we have to beat not only Aus/SL/India/SA and either NZ/ENG once but out of these teams 2 teams twice. High hopes lead to higher sadness at failure. So chill down guys and the after effects of sadness will be lesser. Even if we reach semifinals we are lucky.

  • NOMAN PALEKAR on March 13, 2007, 11:11 GMT

    Good start to the world cup on electronic pitch.Lets hope we get the same start on the cricket pitch.Cricket is a very unpredictable game and Pakistan is the most unpredictable taem in the world.SO the unpredictable factor for Pakistan is 4 times as compared to others.They have lost the games when they should have won easily ( 1975 semi final, no one can forget) and thy have won from situations where nobody would have put their money on them.This is what makes Pakistan the most exciting team in the world.I think Inzi's team ( Our Team) is a well balanced team if they all perform to 75% of what they are capable of.( i.e. individually or as a team). But the problem with Pakistan has been the consistancy and when they start to play bad they all play bad. Unlike Australia, even if they are 4 down for 84 one of them comes in and hit 150 runs and they win. We need to have that sort of holding performance from our players in crunch times.In 92 Miandad and Imran Khan played that role in batting and our young guns Inzimam and Wasim Akram played the explosive innings arround them.We need good team work and I think we can repeat the 92 history. In bowling we are a bit weaker in the sense that we lack the penetration . But in ODIs you can still win by containing and batsmen give away their wickets if bowling is consistant and pressure is built with decipline and good fielding.I wish OUR team good luck. No matter what opposition they get, they are capable of beating them.

  • Sri Lankan on March 13, 2007, 11:11 GMT

    JAVED A. KHAN I disagree with you when you say "if Pakistan reaches to the semi-finals they will probably win the WC, because by then their morale would be high" So then tell me what happened to tjem in 99WC. They were full of confidence until the finals but they slumped to i think 130 all out??? Anyway i hope and pray Pak wins this WC

  • anil on March 13, 2007, 11:10 GMT

    i lov optimism.... i just cant

  • Ralph on March 13, 2007, 11:09 GMT

    I would just like to say that I really like the self-deprecating humour that you bring to your writing, and though I think that Pakistan have no chance, there's nothing wrong in dreaming!

    I think that Pakistan will lose today and reckon that the Pakistan-Ireland game represents one of the best chances for an upset this world cup. But if you can't dream at this point, when can you?!

  • yousuf on March 13, 2007, 11:08 GMT

    A truly feel good article after quite some time. Undoubtedly Pakistan has the ability to go the distance but does it have the application ? This ofcourse will be answered within the next few weeks. Interestingly most (foreing & local) pundits are not rating Pakistan too highly which may work in our favour since added pressure to perform will not be there thus one less thing for inzi to worry about. We do need our core batsmen to perform consistently and now is the time to stand up and be counted !

  • Jigga on March 13, 2007, 11:06 GMT

    thanx for this wonderful article. I keep saying it to everyone that we r still on top of everyone. All we need to do is raise our hands, pray to Allah and the success aint far from us. I believe in all 11 pakistan's players squad. we gonna crush everyone like we crushed Souh Africa in warm up game. Hail to the Paki YOYO (Younis Khan and Muhammed Yousaf) Wa/salam

  • Shahneel Baray on March 13, 2007, 11:06 GMT

    Optimism is the KEY!!! You sound highly optimistic Mr. Abbasi... but... is the Pakistani team as optimistic as you are?!?!?!

    Any comments on that anyone???

    Do not mention warm up matches, talk about :

    - the recent series loss against South Africa

    - the missing players Akhtar, Asif and Razzak

    - the pathetic and ordinary wicket keeping of Akmal

    - the consistency in opening collapses

    - the lack of wicket taking performances against South Africa

    - the declaration of Wolmer of leaving after the WC

    - the recent political pressure within the PCB and the drug scandal

    - the lowest betting odds amongst amongst the top 8 cricketing countries

  • Niss Khan on March 13, 2007, 11:05 GMT

    Unfortunatley do not agree with your views, Pakistan is severely crippled in the bowling department which is reflected in the bookies odds. One off games you would not bet against even this Pakistan side, however to win the tournament or even reach the semi's you need to have consistency where I have major doubts on Pakistan winning enough matches in the super eights. I am hoping we can put on a good show and compete right till the end where beating India in the eights will go down well with the fans!.

  • Luke on March 13, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    Afridi has great talent but has never performed under pressure. Inzi is a great captain and leader, but too old. Yousef is a great Test batsman, but is yet to impress in ODI's. The one thing we can rely on with Pakistan's game is poor fielding! Pakistan are too inconsistent to win the World Cup. Don't give up hope tho as anything can happen!

  • Aussie on March 13, 2007, 11:02 GMT

    The weakest link in the Pakistani team is Mohammed Sami. If Sami performs well then the probability of Pakistan winning matches increases significantly.

  • Avik on March 13, 2007, 11:01 GMT

    yeeeeeeeahhhhh........righttttt! ;-)

  • Raja Jahangir on March 13, 2007, 11:00 GMT

    Hi Kamran

    Thanks a million for writting some thing good about pakistani team. I Believe that we have the best middle order in the world in form of Inzimam, younis, Yousuf and shoib malik, we have the king of sixers, so guys lets pray and wish all the best to Pakistan team....

    Comon Pakistan Dikha doo

    Duniya Ko Hila Doo....

    Chuk day patay

    Raj

  • Saad on March 13, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    Let Pakistani team read this and I can assure you their moral will go skyrocketing. Atleast that is what happened to me and I am sure many more readers and supporters of Pakistani team are feeling the same.

    But let us not just get carried awaym with such an unpredictable nature of our team we cannot predict anything. But we can surely keep our hopes high.

  • Varun Murali on March 13, 2007, 10:58 GMT

    Kamran, by your method of analysis,India stands a better chance. A "feeble" bowling attack with a spinner established in the shorter version. Kaneria has struggled whenever he has played in the one-day game. The less said about Sami and Naved, the better. Pakistan's lower middle order is in the hands of a mercurial Afridi, a nervous Akmal and a returning Azhar. Take Yuvraj and Dhoni for that. Plus a firing Ganguly and an exciting Uthappa should be as dangerous as Nazir and Hafeez. So man to man, India look better. What says thou?

  • Prashanth on March 13, 2007, 10:57 GMT

    Hmmm, nice to see the optimism in your post, but I do not believe that it is definitely Pak's cup this time around. When we talk of a formidable middle order, you could say that India also prides on one. Sri Lanka, Australia, and the West Indies also have really good batting line-ups, and can beat anyone on their day.All in all, I think this might definitely be a sub-continental team's cup, though India and Sri-Lanka are better canditates than Pakistan

  • Atif on March 13, 2007, 10:57 GMT

    Sami's column is based on wishful thinking rather than facts on ground. And sadly, the facts on ground are quite dire. Yes, Pakistan has no one to fear - and thats because we have nothing to lose. There is no expectation, there is no hype regarding Pakistan. Our qualification to second round is really about the only sure thing.

    Here is my prediction for this match, and I put it with a weeping heart: Pakistan will lose by at least 25 runs or between 2-5 wickets.

  • doc on March 13, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    I must admit I haven't read much of what you have written in the past - and based on what I read here, I don't think I've missed much.

    Pakistan just having the Oz hurdle to overcome on the way to the trophy - yeah right! And India, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka are out here to play marbles on the glorious white sands!

    Give me a break Kamran, and do not couch the words of a die-hard optimist in the garb of a "cricket writer."

  • Harry Priest on March 13, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    There is no doubt that Pakistan can be very dangerous, even though Asif is not playing. But saying that 'only Australia block the road' is ludicrous. Any of the other major teams could send Pakistan home early.

  • Sami on March 13, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    What a kiss-ass article - if hunger and experience are the main weapons in Pakistan's arsenal, and one on which Kamran Abbasi's hope depends, both are in for a sore dissapointment. Every team in the tournament has this 'hunger' that Kamran talks about, and enough of experience. But while Pakistan has not translated this experience into actual performance, other teams such as South Africa and Australia have. In the end, that is what matters. That is not to say Pakistan doesn't have a chance but only to have a balanced perspective which Kamran Abbasi obviously needs.

  • Syed Younus Shah on March 13, 2007, 10:49 GMT

    I don't completely agree with you. You have made it look very easy. Pakistan has to play some real hard cricket in order to win from any team. Inzi has to keep his thinking cap on all the time in the pitch battle. He has to lead from the front. You cannot predict any outcome of the games that has Pakistan involved in it. The only predictable thing about them is there unpredictability.

  • Valavan on March 13, 2007, 10:48 GMT

    As i see the Pakistan Fans are in need of spin pitches. what the hell is this? Go and perform dont simply hope for pitch conditions. I think subcontinent teams never forgot the pitch given to them in Champions trophy. If you are a professional bunch, then you must adapt to any given condition + winning the warm up is never a yard stick. Pakistan indeed can be soundly beaten or can beat any team. Pakistan must do well as a team rather hoping for slow turners. indeed i dont think so all gonna be slow sluggish pitches.

  • Java on March 13, 2007, 10:47 GMT

    Kamran Bhai If your analysis is based on results of warm up matches then your goodself is getting carried away. If warm matches are to be used as single indicator then India should win outright. Scored 300 plus in one match (only team to do so in warm up match) and bowled home team for 85 in another. Bottom line in that warm matches are for conditioning. Ever team will lift up there game and every game will be a hurdle to jump for pakistan. unfortunately recent history is not on their side. Dismal records away from home. And did I hear someone say that they have yet to beat India in a WC game. All said good luck to inzy and boys. Hope they rise above everyones expectation

    Java Australia

  • Ben Lord on March 13, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    You are dreaming. When the heat is on, Pakistan turn off.

  • Karim on March 13, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    I love your optimism...I just cant share it though. I hope it is you that is right and not me. I just don't feel we have what it takes in the bowling department, especially because Rana is going downhill and Sami has never fulfilled his potential. I am very nervous about today but lets hope the players that are their will stand up and be counted and show what they are made of.

  • Adam on March 13, 2007, 10:44 GMT

    Pakistan are never far from controversy, shoaib and asif are on drugs and listen to rock and roll!! But the fact remains Pak are still an immensely talented team which has been totally written off in this competition – well will that will suit Pak just perfectly as they are under no pressure and can perform to their huge talent. “IF” the openers can give Pak a Start than the battery of Younis, Yousaf, Inzi, Malik Afridi and Akmal will post huge scores. Gul will take wickets, Rana will give runs for free, and Danish may just prove to be our Match winner…Lets hope and pray Pak perform and Win the CUP!! It would be Great to see miserable Inzi smiling and the entire nation jubilant!!!

  • Dario on March 13, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    Like Australia has Symonds as a devestating batter and a compe3tent bowler Pakistan has a match winner as well. If Shahid Afridi play well he could single handedly win the cup for Pakistan. All the bowlers fear him when he comes to the crease he now needs to step up and prove himself to be a class batter. His bowling is good as well

  • Vikrant on March 13, 2007, 10:36 GMT

    This is one time I think Kamran is being a little too optimistic. Not so much because of the fact that they are missing Asif and Razzaq( Shoaib even if he made it - would likely have pulled out for one injury or another prior to the super 8's)but because Inzy is really not at his best right now - he is probably hampered by too much cricket a bad back and the silly issues that have been unnecessarily plaguing Pakistan for the last few months - and while Yousaf and Younis Khan are great for Test matches - Inzy is the crucial link in ODIs for Pakistan. Pakistan is still a very good test match outfit -but without Inzy firing - and no Asif to partner Rana Naveed -and Afridi out of the first four matches - it will have a hard time in this tournament.

  • umar on March 13, 2007, 10:34 GMT

    so do india block the road

  • aamir akhund on March 13, 2007, 10:32 GMT

    Ok so we have arrived to that day which every follower of PAK cricket has been waiting since 2003. i just want to say that inshallah inzi and the boys will make us proud. and by proud i really mean reaching the semi-finals. if they get there i will forgive them of all the sins this team and managment(Bob not included) have commited in the past year or so. go Pakistan go. victory will be ours.

  • Saurabh Kumar on March 13, 2007, 10:30 GMT

    this post is totally crazy. Just do a fair comparison. You will find + points in every team. And far better than what is mentioned.

  • km selvan on March 13, 2007, 10:30 GMT

    Pakistan is yet to beat India in a world cup match; let them prepare for that rather than Cup. Anyway, history will repeat and Pak will neither beat India nor win the world cup. If only pigs can fly.....

  • Richard on March 13, 2007, 10:28 GMT

    You have lost the plot, Pakistan should worry and be worried about all the teams in the world cup, especially as they have a rather pathetic record in the West Indies, they are a good team, but so are all the others.

  • Mohammad Masood on March 13, 2007, 10:19 GMT

    Your observations about Pakistani team are a wishful thinking. Pakistan is not likely to make it to the Semi finals, let alone hope to win the tournament. Inzamam, nor Woolmer, are not the kind of leader and the coach, respectively,who would lead a mediocre team to the world cup victory. Did'nt you read Bob Woomer say that he personally fancy South Africa to win. In my view, this comment is not only defeatist but warrant punitive action. How can a coach of one team would like the team of other country win? Inzamam Bob Woolmer, selectors and other PCCB management have been a sad story for the Pakistan cricket, which will culminate with a mediocre performance in the world cup So lets be realistic and not raise hopes.

  • Harry Iyris on March 13, 2007, 9:31 GMT

    There are 3 obstacles to Pakistan. Australia, India and SA. Lets not get carried away by warm up victory over SA. So that leaves for 4 almost certain wins for pakistan in group. They would certainly reach semis. But from there on they have to play on top gear. Somebody pointed out similarity of many all rounders with 1983 WC kapils devils, this time it could be turn of inzys tigers. I think afridi is going to play like Kapil dev 175 NO innings . Lets keep our finger crossed.

  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on March 13, 2007, 9:22 GMT

    That certainly cheered up my Tuesday morning. Hugely optimistic... reminds me of Mirza Ghalib's piece ''Hum ko maloom hai janaat kee haqeeqat leikin.. dil ko khoosh rakhnay kay liyay yeh khayal acha hai...''

  • Fahrook on March 13, 2007, 7:49 GMT

    Dear kamran I think you and some other bloggers here are getting carried away by Patriotism. Patriotism is essential but as a journalist, you have to be relaistic in analysis. Instead, you seem to be an ordinary supporter rather than a journalist. Pakistan has won against SA in warm-up but that doesn't mean they can beat anyone in the world and Autralia is the only nation blocking them. You have hided all the weaknesses of this Pakistan team very well in the post. Tell me onething..Which team's players are not hungry for success? Dont just bluff yourself. Somebody above has said Pakistan has great bowling options better than anyone.. Are you crazy? Look at India and Srilanka. They have developed over the years quite a good pacemen. And their spin bowlers were consistent over a long period of time and proven performers. Also of the 3 asian teams - Ind, SL and Pak, Pakistan has the worst leadership, bowling and batting. India is way above in batting (and they learnt already about WI conditions when they got defeated 4-1) and they have struck form at the correct moment. Similarly, SL has been reasonably consistent in away series in the recent past. I would rate India followed by SL and last is pakistan. I would be surprised if Pakistan gets through Super-8 first... I think this world cup is going to be same as 2003 cup.. Australia and India again and India going to take revenge. Pakistan 's chances are as same as 2003 .. This is going to be the fact.

  • vishy on March 13, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    Now,now kamran is this post an answer to your critics-who pulled you up for writing negative about pakistan and its leader,dear Inzy

  • H.Malik on March 13, 2007, 6:03 GMT

    Dear Kamran , Your words " the lunacy of the kast six month leading to " is very prophetic summation . I tend to agree that " This team of brilliant YOYOs " perhpas had hit the rock bottom during the last ODi series in South Africa and one tend to think there is no one way for a YOYO to go , that is in it upward swing once it has hit the rock bootom . PERHAPS , you , I and the nation in particular is hoping that this is the case , how it will turn out to be , we will see its first swing against the clypto Gale force & samba dancing of the Lara . The onyl team who will be watching this saga with deep breath and finger crossed is Zimbabway whose leader is on record to quote " they would try to capitalise on the missries of the WI & Pakistani YOYOs , to cater a chance for themselves to proceed to the supper 8s ... Let us see how your prophecy comes true and let us see how my physics of the YOYOs behaviour shows up from now on !!

  • Harish on March 13, 2007, 5:57 GMT

    Abbasi sir, It appears you are carried away by Aussies as the only force in WC. There are few other obstacles Pakistan is going to encounter. And none is bigger than India. We just hope in group clash Ind-Pak encounter is not do or die for both because it would mean one of them would lose out for semis spot. As far as India is concerned, it wont mind losing to pak in group as long as finals is won by India. Similarly pakistan would also repeat 1992, they won finals though lost in leage matches. After all what maters is finals victory. May the best team win. Pakistan or India it would be victory for subcontinent.

  • sean on March 13, 2007, 5:57 GMT

    yes, you are crazy. enthusiasm pretending to be journalism

  • Mabsoos Ahmad, New Delhi from India on March 13, 2007, 5:55 GMT

    I do not agree with you Karman Bhai that only Australia will block the road to victory. Frankly speaking NOBODY is going to stop lifting this cup this team. If Inzi fails to do, this team will never able to win the WC. They have a very balanced side and all the pundits will eat their words. In this blog there have been quite a few people who do not have hope and they simply questioned so many things. I have a reason to smile that this team is equipped with ALL ROUNDERS and this is the strenght in ODI. Inzi has plenty of options provided he uses his weapons according to the situation. I remember when Inzi and even Younis did not use the skill of Hafeez in the bowling department in some of the ODIs. He will be key player in WC. When I started taking interest in cricket in 1978 at the age of 8 only and has been playing cricket and it is my passion. From the experience I can say that Pakistan has a real chance of lifting this WC because in 1983 India lifted the trophy and defeated the mightly WI just because Kapil Dev was having the luxury of all rounders and this time only Pakistan has this kind of luxury. So, Kamran Bhai I am very optimistic like you because it is said "NA UMIDI KUFR HAI". My best wishes again for and GOD BLESS EVERYBODY....

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on March 13, 2007, 4:54 GMT

    Mental toughness via Bob’s mentoring program:

    Dear Kamran:

    You summed it up rather nicely; an optimistic approach holds the key to team success as they battle it out in the middle with other key contenders.

    It would serve the team wonders if on a collective basis (including Afridi and Nazir), they bring this realization on board that staying humble pays dividends.

    Scoring first ball ducks and throwing wicket(s) away with wild swings are the wrong attributes which need behavioral correction, more than anything else.

    The success of the coaching and mentoring program under the aegis of Bob Woolmer, would manifest itself in the middle. We sincerely, hope that Bob continues to engage these incomplete players (Afridi, Nazir, Sami, and Rana) so that they exhibit their true character in style and continue to contribute from one game to the next without falling prey to “The Carry Syndrome”.

    The mental toughness of players is a vital factor if Pakistan is to make a run for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

  • Usman - Islamabad Pakistan on March 13, 2007, 3:37 GMT

    HURRAH. YOU SAID IT ALL IN THE LAST SENTENCE. GREAT JOB KA :-)

  • Ahmer Karimuddin on March 13, 2007, 3:20 GMT

    Aap kai moon main ghee shakar!

  • Raza Zaidi on March 13, 2007, 2:38 GMT

    Umeed peh dunya qaim hae...Let's hope that Kamran is right. Leave the near past far behind and look forward to what could be a cracker of a World Cup for Pakistan. I predict Yasir Arafat will be the surprise package, if he gets a chance. Good luck Team Pakistan!

    cheers, Raza.

  • Omar on March 13, 2007, 2:13 GMT

    Excuse the language...but...

    A-f***ing-men!

  • Jay on March 13, 2007, 1:59 GMT

    I wish Pakistan the very best for this WC. If its their day these group of individuals can surprise any team though some players have recently been out of form particularly in the bowling department. This is where Inzi's captaincy comes to play. He must be smart and animated on field. He should constantly monitor the opponent's run rate and shuffle his bowlers wisely. If one of the bowlers are getting regular wickets he must choose to complete his 10 overs rather than waiting to use him in the end. Pakistan should forget about statistics from the past and look forward to the reality thats facing them today. If the bowlers click.. the batting will capitalize automatically with a solid middle order boasting names like Yousuf, Younis and Inzi.

  • Asad Bangash, Toronto on March 13, 2007, 1:56 GMT

    Thankz a million Kamran bhai,for writing the first positive article regarding pakistan in ur entire life..o well i am exaggeratting (lol). I have a lot of hope from this bunch and they definately have the fire-power to deliver the goods. ALL-Rounders would be key, in my opinion. Best of Luck to Pakistan. All my prayers are with you. Bring Back the Cup ..itz ourz !

  • Farhan Arif on March 13, 2007, 1:49 GMT

    Quoting you kamran, "Many of you already consider me to be a raving lunatic and to those people I offer further evidence. Pakistan have nobody to fear in this tournament and might just have the mix of experience and hunger to lift the trophy. ". I have been very critical of some aspects of how the team was selected and how the opening bowlers were given too much time to prove nothing, while others had to wait to be picked for the squad. But now, I agree to all your reasons why we should all expect pakistan to win the trophy, just being optimistic, not over enthusiastic at all. Teams and media have written pakistan off. This is our biggest chance to prove them wrong. Its not like we have not had such a situation before, we did it in 1992. We will do it again. Imran is the "great leader" because he won the world cup. If Inzi does it, he will be hailed as greater, because of his tremendous batting record as well. I think I would opt for Rana naveed in the starting line up, have Imran Nazir and Younis Khan open, Hafeez at 5, Shoaib malik at 6. Gul, Sami,Rana and Kaneria as out strike bowlers.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz on March 13, 2007, 1:41 GMT

    Pakistan is the 2nd best team to be playing in the world cup. Pakistan may not have their best 11 with them but they will only miss Asif, but Australia will miss Lee as well. Sami is a better option than Lee as Lee can be very expensive like Akhtar. But no one is as economical and successfuly like Asif but Umar Gul can achieve similar results. If Imran Nazir and Afridi fires, then Australia will be on a hiding to nothing. Pakistan can dismantle any team they way they defeated South Africa. They should make the semi finals and then if they win 2 more matches, they will win the world cup.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 13, 2007, 1:31 GMT

    I DISAGREE that only Australia is Pakistan's main block to the road to victory. Every single team is a kinda hurdle for the other, even Bangladesh can pose a threat to Sri Lanka and India in their group and eliminate one of them. After seeing Australia's performance in the tri-series and later in New Zealand, they have shown their vulnerability to collapse. Symonds may not be the same after his surgery and he would be reluctant to go for big hits. Hayden too after his toe injury may not be the same player and Gilchrist cannot always score a match winning innings in every single game. Hussey is a highly over-rated player and he has scored only when Australian openers and middle order players have laid a platform for him to come and score freely. Yes, Ricky Ponting's presence will make a difference in the team, not only his batting but his leadership skills are also very good.

    More than Australia's batting, its their bowling department that has come in to attack very recently and that is due to Lee's absence. McGrath has lost his touch and I don't think he can do any damage, the old pigeon has lost his feathers. Shuan Tait has speed, but he has not been able to bowl those deadly in-swinging yorkers which the Australians have talked so much about it. Stuart Clarke is a very unassuming bowler and he is pretty good in maintaining line and length so, Pakistanis beware of their casual approach against him. The rest are just mediocre bowlers. The whole team is now in that state where they know that they can be bundled out or beaten up. Obviously the pundits and the bookies may not want to rule the Aussies out, but in my opinion they are not the same force to reckon.

    The team with the "chokers-tag", I wish they don't even reach the semis this time and if they do, then don't have to play against Pakistan in the semis. However, if Pakistan reaches to the semi-finals they will probably win the WC, because by then their morale would be high as high as K-2 and their self-belief would make the team rise for the big occasion.

  • Muddassir on March 13, 2007, 1:29 GMT

    I agree with you 100% and people call me lunatic too :D... Infact they called me lunatic when I told them that Pakistan will beat South Africa in the warm-up game. People go on impressions and not facts. South Africa, England and Australia may have great teams when they are playing in their backyards but not on slow and low wickets like these. Pakistan with four spinners Hafeez, Afridi, Kaneria and Malik have the perfect attack even better than SriLanka or India for these pitches. Also people who criticize that Pakistan is not strong enough in fast bowling, they only think so because this time Pakistan fast bowling battery is just like everybody else. Previously we were so far ahead in quality when Ws were playing that people thought of Pakistan as a fast bowlers team. This time that is definitely not the case but we have decent enough bowlers, good enough for ODI cricket. Umer Gul & Rao have control and decent pace more than some of the other bowlers on display. Sami is not that good but if he improves then he can have a lasting effect on this tourney. Lets hope and pray for the best... Way to go Pakistan.

  • wasim saqib on March 13, 2007, 0:48 GMT

    Thank you Kamran for writing a blog which is free of controversy and only supports and encourage the team,tommorow's match will be just the beginning everybody will get an idea what kind of pitches we are going to get,and whats our true potential its a long tournament and I hope we go in with hunger and instead of putting up a fight give the other team a war. After the WI and India match I wrote on one of your blogs that I suspect that the Pitches will be fast and bouncy as WI team's timing was completely out it seemed they were practicing on faster pitches and today Andy Roberts warned everybody dont expect slow turning wickets there are a few surprises lets see if we get the first surprise, Regardless of everything we should all take it one match at a time untill its all over. We all know its going to be bumpy ride, so be patient and be supportive of your team and during the matches please do not show any negativity or frustration,accept win or loss with honor and grace, God willing our team will prove all the pundits wrong. GO Pakistan Go, CHAK DEY PHATEY

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  • wasim saqib on March 13, 2007, 0:48 GMT

    Thank you Kamran for writing a blog which is free of controversy and only supports and encourage the team,tommorow's match will be just the beginning everybody will get an idea what kind of pitches we are going to get,and whats our true potential its a long tournament and I hope we go in with hunger and instead of putting up a fight give the other team a war. After the WI and India match I wrote on one of your blogs that I suspect that the Pitches will be fast and bouncy as WI team's timing was completely out it seemed they were practicing on faster pitches and today Andy Roberts warned everybody dont expect slow turning wickets there are a few surprises lets see if we get the first surprise, Regardless of everything we should all take it one match at a time untill its all over. We all know its going to be bumpy ride, so be patient and be supportive of your team and during the matches please do not show any negativity or frustration,accept win or loss with honor and grace, God willing our team will prove all the pundits wrong. GO Pakistan Go, CHAK DEY PHATEY

  • Muddassir on March 13, 2007, 1:29 GMT

    I agree with you 100% and people call me lunatic too :D... Infact they called me lunatic when I told them that Pakistan will beat South Africa in the warm-up game. People go on impressions and not facts. South Africa, England and Australia may have great teams when they are playing in their backyards but not on slow and low wickets like these. Pakistan with four spinners Hafeez, Afridi, Kaneria and Malik have the perfect attack even better than SriLanka or India for these pitches. Also people who criticize that Pakistan is not strong enough in fast bowling, they only think so because this time Pakistan fast bowling battery is just like everybody else. Previously we were so far ahead in quality when Ws were playing that people thought of Pakistan as a fast bowlers team. This time that is definitely not the case but we have decent enough bowlers, good enough for ODI cricket. Umer Gul & Rao have control and decent pace more than some of the other bowlers on display. Sami is not that good but if he improves then he can have a lasting effect on this tourney. Lets hope and pray for the best... Way to go Pakistan.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 13, 2007, 1:31 GMT

    I DISAGREE that only Australia is Pakistan's main block to the road to victory. Every single team is a kinda hurdle for the other, even Bangladesh can pose a threat to Sri Lanka and India in their group and eliminate one of them. After seeing Australia's performance in the tri-series and later in New Zealand, they have shown their vulnerability to collapse. Symonds may not be the same after his surgery and he would be reluctant to go for big hits. Hayden too after his toe injury may not be the same player and Gilchrist cannot always score a match winning innings in every single game. Hussey is a highly over-rated player and he has scored only when Australian openers and middle order players have laid a platform for him to come and score freely. Yes, Ricky Ponting's presence will make a difference in the team, not only his batting but his leadership skills are also very good.

    More than Australia's batting, its their bowling department that has come in to attack very recently and that is due to Lee's absence. McGrath has lost his touch and I don't think he can do any damage, the old pigeon has lost his feathers. Shuan Tait has speed, but he has not been able to bowl those deadly in-swinging yorkers which the Australians have talked so much about it. Stuart Clarke is a very unassuming bowler and he is pretty good in maintaining line and length so, Pakistanis beware of their casual approach against him. The rest are just mediocre bowlers. The whole team is now in that state where they know that they can be bundled out or beaten up. Obviously the pundits and the bookies may not want to rule the Aussies out, but in my opinion they are not the same force to reckon.

    The team with the "chokers-tag", I wish they don't even reach the semis this time and if they do, then don't have to play against Pakistan in the semis. However, if Pakistan reaches to the semi-finals they will probably win the WC, because by then their morale would be high as high as K-2 and their self-belief would make the team rise for the big occasion.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz on March 13, 2007, 1:41 GMT

    Pakistan is the 2nd best team to be playing in the world cup. Pakistan may not have their best 11 with them but they will only miss Asif, but Australia will miss Lee as well. Sami is a better option than Lee as Lee can be very expensive like Akhtar. But no one is as economical and successfuly like Asif but Umar Gul can achieve similar results. If Imran Nazir and Afridi fires, then Australia will be on a hiding to nothing. Pakistan can dismantle any team they way they defeated South Africa. They should make the semi finals and then if they win 2 more matches, they will win the world cup.

  • Farhan Arif on March 13, 2007, 1:49 GMT

    Quoting you kamran, "Many of you already consider me to be a raving lunatic and to those people I offer further evidence. Pakistan have nobody to fear in this tournament and might just have the mix of experience and hunger to lift the trophy. ". I have been very critical of some aspects of how the team was selected and how the opening bowlers were given too much time to prove nothing, while others had to wait to be picked for the squad. But now, I agree to all your reasons why we should all expect pakistan to win the trophy, just being optimistic, not over enthusiastic at all. Teams and media have written pakistan off. This is our biggest chance to prove them wrong. Its not like we have not had such a situation before, we did it in 1992. We will do it again. Imran is the "great leader" because he won the world cup. If Inzi does it, he will be hailed as greater, because of his tremendous batting record as well. I think I would opt for Rana naveed in the starting line up, have Imran Nazir and Younis Khan open, Hafeez at 5, Shoaib malik at 6. Gul, Sami,Rana and Kaneria as out strike bowlers.

  • Asad Bangash, Toronto on March 13, 2007, 1:56 GMT

    Thankz a million Kamran bhai,for writing the first positive article regarding pakistan in ur entire life..o well i am exaggeratting (lol). I have a lot of hope from this bunch and they definately have the fire-power to deliver the goods. ALL-Rounders would be key, in my opinion. Best of Luck to Pakistan. All my prayers are with you. Bring Back the Cup ..itz ourz !

  • Jay on March 13, 2007, 1:59 GMT

    I wish Pakistan the very best for this WC. If its their day these group of individuals can surprise any team though some players have recently been out of form particularly in the bowling department. This is where Inzi's captaincy comes to play. He must be smart and animated on field. He should constantly monitor the opponent's run rate and shuffle his bowlers wisely. If one of the bowlers are getting regular wickets he must choose to complete his 10 overs rather than waiting to use him in the end. Pakistan should forget about statistics from the past and look forward to the reality thats facing them today. If the bowlers click.. the batting will capitalize automatically with a solid middle order boasting names like Yousuf, Younis and Inzi.

  • Omar on March 13, 2007, 2:13 GMT

    Excuse the language...but...

    A-f***ing-men!

  • Raza Zaidi on March 13, 2007, 2:38 GMT

    Umeed peh dunya qaim hae...Let's hope that Kamran is right. Leave the near past far behind and look forward to what could be a cracker of a World Cup for Pakistan. I predict Yasir Arafat will be the surprise package, if he gets a chance. Good luck Team Pakistan!

    cheers, Raza.

  • Ahmer Karimuddin on March 13, 2007, 3:20 GMT

    Aap kai moon main ghee shakar!