Twenty20 World Cup 2007 September 5, 2007

Anybody but Australia for the Cup

I am looking forward to this World Cup
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I am looking forward to this World Cup. Twenty20 cricket is closest to the form of cricket that most amateurs play, and while cricket snobs might curse this modern blight I welcome it, its brevity, and its uncertainty.

I am also looking forward to the possibility that Australia - as wonderful as they are - might not win. Any of the major teams has a genuine chance in cricket's most unpredictable format.

Pakistan began their Twenty20 World Cup preparations in the best possible manner. Three resounding victories were all that could have been expected of Shoaib Malik's team in Kenya and they delivered. A pleasing start, though, will not easily translate into success in South Africa where the opposition and the conditions will be much more testing. Yet Pakistan will be helped by these preparation games to fine tune their team and their tactics.

A few questions have been asked about Pakistan's inability to bowl out two of the teams they played. But in twenty overs you don't expect to bowl out your opposition instead you expect to bowl them out of the match, something Pakistan comfortably achieved. With Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif back Pakistan are able to call on their first-choice bowling attack, a combination that should help avoid any World Cup-type slips against minnows.

The batting, meanwhile, has an explosive look about it. Pakistan's batsmen are naturally aggressive and many of their failures arise from being caught between their desire to attack and match conditions that require a more considered approach. In Twenty20 cricket there is only one way to play, a simplicity of mind that will help Imran Nazir and Shahid Afridi in particular.

Pakistan, then, must view this tournament with optimism. Other than Australia, cricket's hierarchy is confused and any of the major teams could emerge triumphant. Indeed, the shorter the version of cricket the higher the risk to Australia's supremacy. We can but hope. It's about time somebody else was crowned World Champions in some form of cricket - even if it isn't Pakistan.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nathan on September 10, 2007, 5:32 GMT

    To talk up Pakistan's chances of winning the 20/20 WC is fine, but why does Australia always have to be dragged into the discussion? The author of this article never brings up Australia to give them any (justly deserved) credit, it is always to belittle them.

    While it's all very well for people such as Faesal to request that Australians do not take to heart the author's bias, I find it hard to accept articles such as this given the 'rules' that seem to apply to Australians.

    What I mean is that when an Australian journalist writes anything even slightly negative (no matter how factual) about teams from the sub continent, the outcry of 'racism' is deafening. Yet everyone thinks it's perfectly OK to denigrate Australia and Australians. But I wish non-Australians could cop negative comments about their country or their team on the chin, the way Australians have to, without bleating about racism every time.

  • Mohidin Gundroo on September 7, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    It is the spinners rather than pacers who keep the run-rate down and take wickets in Twenty20, so I don't see a lot of scope for Shoaib Akhtar, who can be be very expensive. Keep the run-rate down and wickets tumble, that is what we have seen here in England over last few years.

    Pak must rely on Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and co. Among pacers, choose ones who can be relied for line and length. No scope for short-balls except for occasional surprise

  • Safi on September 7, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    Watch out for India!

    In a way its good there isn't much expectation on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's young guns. Virender Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, IrfanPathan, Robin Uthappa areall big strikers and have things to prove. Fielding would improve just because the 'oldies' are not there. Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, and RP Singh are not going to easy to get away. So watch out everyone - we might have India winning against all odds!

  • Kashif Anwar, M.D. on September 6, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    Pakistan is so 'predictably unpredictable' that it can only win if a loss is predicted!! So better assume we are not good enough to win the World Twenty20. I hope few will agree.

  • Nasir on September 6, 2007, 20:24 GMT

    There are a few teams capable of lifting this cup apart from Australia if they play to their potential. England, Sri Lanka and South Africa are amongst the second favourites with Pakistan, India and New Zealand as the dark horses.

    Pakistan's team is too inconsistent. I don't think we have a solid top-order. Imran Nazir has yet to prove his worth and we are going to miss the big names in the middle-order. I think even 20 overs will prove too long to survive.

    I have said this before, any time our hopes rest on Afridi means we are in deep trouble. With our bowling, Shoaib will throw his usual tantrums and Asif just looks exhausted and on evidence both will likely go for runs. Our spin department has no top-class spinner which will prove crucial in this format.

    I do not have high hopes for our team but I hope they can prove me wrong for once.

  • Shahmeer on September 6, 2007, 20:22 GMT

    I think the preparations in Kenya would actually hurt Pakistan. They'll give us a false sense of confidence. Strategies and tactics that worked against Uganda might not work against Australia.

  • Anil Rao on September 6, 2007, 19:17 GMT

    World Twenty20? What a waste of time. Call me traditionalist, I am not going to watch it without Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting etc....just a waste of time.

  • Saif Ahmed on September 6, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    Counting Australia out would be a big mistake.The Australians have the tenacity and will to do even better in worse conditions. In my opinion we will witness some real contests among Australia, South Africa, India and New Zealand. Again that is just an opinion, as far as Pakistan is concerned, they might come up with some surprises but I doubt that this team would pose any real threats to teams like Australia and South Africa . I am still at a loss at Yousuf's dropping. Razzaq was doing wonderfully well for his county, his exclusion is mind boggling too.

    Malik opened the innings against the feeblest of sides, I am not sure what he was trying to prove! This guy does not deserve to be in the side but we made him our captain, this can only happen in Pakistan. We all want Pakistan to do well in all areas of life but realistically speaking this team does not stand a chance.

  • Tabs Farooq on September 6, 2007, 12:20 GMT

    Mr.J.Khan has a lot to say! Good luck to the boys in SA. Time to stop moaning and giving them a chance. Good luck to the new regime and the young Captain!

  • Shoaib Amin on September 6, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    Yes Kamran, as far as your idea of a team other than Australia winning the Twenty20 is concerned, I am with you. Because it is better for cricket. People are now bored with the continuous wins of the Aussies and no team is showing guts and courage to down them. But realistically, beating Aussies is difficult as they have developed their self not only physically but mentally.

  • Nathan on September 10, 2007, 5:32 GMT

    To talk up Pakistan's chances of winning the 20/20 WC is fine, but why does Australia always have to be dragged into the discussion? The author of this article never brings up Australia to give them any (justly deserved) credit, it is always to belittle them.

    While it's all very well for people such as Faesal to request that Australians do not take to heart the author's bias, I find it hard to accept articles such as this given the 'rules' that seem to apply to Australians.

    What I mean is that when an Australian journalist writes anything even slightly negative (no matter how factual) about teams from the sub continent, the outcry of 'racism' is deafening. Yet everyone thinks it's perfectly OK to denigrate Australia and Australians. But I wish non-Australians could cop negative comments about their country or their team on the chin, the way Australians have to, without bleating about racism every time.

  • Mohidin Gundroo on September 7, 2007, 6:07 GMT

    It is the spinners rather than pacers who keep the run-rate down and take wickets in Twenty20, so I don't see a lot of scope for Shoaib Akhtar, who can be be very expensive. Keep the run-rate down and wickets tumble, that is what we have seen here in England over last few years.

    Pak must rely on Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and co. Among pacers, choose ones who can be relied for line and length. No scope for short-balls except for occasional surprise

  • Safi on September 7, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    Watch out for India!

    In a way its good there isn't much expectation on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's young guns. Virender Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, IrfanPathan, Robin Uthappa areall big strikers and have things to prove. Fielding would improve just because the 'oldies' are not there. Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, and RP Singh are not going to easy to get away. So watch out everyone - we might have India winning against all odds!

  • Kashif Anwar, M.D. on September 6, 2007, 20:31 GMT

    Pakistan is so 'predictably unpredictable' that it can only win if a loss is predicted!! So better assume we are not good enough to win the World Twenty20. I hope few will agree.

  • Nasir on September 6, 2007, 20:24 GMT

    There are a few teams capable of lifting this cup apart from Australia if they play to their potential. England, Sri Lanka and South Africa are amongst the second favourites with Pakistan, India and New Zealand as the dark horses.

    Pakistan's team is too inconsistent. I don't think we have a solid top-order. Imran Nazir has yet to prove his worth and we are going to miss the big names in the middle-order. I think even 20 overs will prove too long to survive.

    I have said this before, any time our hopes rest on Afridi means we are in deep trouble. With our bowling, Shoaib will throw his usual tantrums and Asif just looks exhausted and on evidence both will likely go for runs. Our spin department has no top-class spinner which will prove crucial in this format.

    I do not have high hopes for our team but I hope they can prove me wrong for once.

  • Shahmeer on September 6, 2007, 20:22 GMT

    I think the preparations in Kenya would actually hurt Pakistan. They'll give us a false sense of confidence. Strategies and tactics that worked against Uganda might not work against Australia.

  • Anil Rao on September 6, 2007, 19:17 GMT

    World Twenty20? What a waste of time. Call me traditionalist, I am not going to watch it without Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting etc....just a waste of time.

  • Saif Ahmed on September 6, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    Counting Australia out would be a big mistake.The Australians have the tenacity and will to do even better in worse conditions. In my opinion we will witness some real contests among Australia, South Africa, India and New Zealand. Again that is just an opinion, as far as Pakistan is concerned, they might come up with some surprises but I doubt that this team would pose any real threats to teams like Australia and South Africa . I am still at a loss at Yousuf's dropping. Razzaq was doing wonderfully well for his county, his exclusion is mind boggling too.

    Malik opened the innings against the feeblest of sides, I am not sure what he was trying to prove! This guy does not deserve to be in the side but we made him our captain, this can only happen in Pakistan. We all want Pakistan to do well in all areas of life but realistically speaking this team does not stand a chance.

  • Tabs Farooq on September 6, 2007, 12:20 GMT

    Mr.J.Khan has a lot to say! Good luck to the boys in SA. Time to stop moaning and giving them a chance. Good luck to the new regime and the young Captain!

  • Shoaib Amin on September 6, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    Yes Kamran, as far as your idea of a team other than Australia winning the Twenty20 is concerned, I am with you. Because it is better for cricket. People are now bored with the continuous wins of the Aussies and no team is showing guts and courage to down them. But realistically, beating Aussies is difficult as they have developed their self not only physically but mentally.

  • Mohamoud on September 6, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    I wish Pakistan team will fail again as World cup because of their favouritism against players. How they can omit from their line-up, the likes of Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq?

  • Rusty on September 6, 2007, 11:38 GMT

    As one of the early posts said, why not hope for good, competitive cricket, rather than always wishing for anybody to win, regardless of the standard, except Australia, . Surely the 'real cricket lover wants quality games, not just to see a disliked foe lose, just for the sake of someone else getting the Cup for once?

    If Australia prove on the day to be the best, then they deserve to win. God knows they put the work into it. Less tantrums from Pakistan and more quality would be welcome.

    It is certainly not better for cricket if teams don't raise their own standards and just hope for a drop in Australia's instead!

  • Bilal Virk on September 6, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    Kamran's comments need to be taken in the context. It's an urge to see more teams competitive at a top level rather than defame Australia. Aussies are brilliant cricketers but others need to rise up to the challenge... Guess its something most spectators hope for...

  • Aftasb on September 6, 2007, 10:09 GMT

    I don't know where all you Pakistanis have been and what cricket you follow if you think Pakistan is going to win anything.

    Last year we saw the 20/20 on Geo with Pakistani domestic cricketers and they looked completely lost.

    If you want to see one of the best 20/20 or one-day side you want to see is England.

    Please don't live in fantasy world and think Pakistan are going to win anything. The only teams which have a realistic chance of winning this tournament are Australia, England and South Africa.

  • srivathsan on September 6, 2007, 9:58 GMT

    Australia is still the better side - even without Ponting - to win the Twenty20 cup. It is a professional side having the edge over other teams in all the three departments. England, New Zealand & Sri Lanka are the next best. WI & SA are equally formidable.I fully agree with the views of Javed A. Khan on this issue.Pakistan is a good side compared to India & Bangladesh. As individuals, they are good but lack cohesiveness as a team,which is vital to win any cup. It is too early to predict but definitely Kangaroos are favourites. I do not want to even gamble as to up to which stage India goes.They should have had Sourav Ganguly & Sachin Tendulkar as we need experience also in this format of the game . I do not agree that shorter the format ,the lower the chances for Aussies to win the game.It is the only team which picks up the momentum right from the first ball they face unlike our players who need minimum 3 overs to get settled.

  • Faesal on September 6, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    I think Pakistan has a realistic chance of making it to the finals if not lifting the cup. Twenty20 style of cricket suits Pakistani temperament quite well. As far as Aussies complaining about the author being biased against Australia, he praised Australia first. But it is only natural to look forward to a team other than Australia winning for a change. It is human nature so don't take this to your hearts, "mates".

  • Subodh on September 6, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    Kamran, its nice to hope for a country other than Australia to win the inaugural World Twenty20 cup and may be your wish would be granted too. But , stop a moment and think. Would that change any thing in reality would that make the non-Aussie winner of the Twenty20 cup the real world champion as this tournament is touted?? Not at all if you ask me . Currently the Australians are in a situation where their defeats are temporary abberations and nothing more. True , their side is aging (just like the Indian team) but very much a force to reckon with (again just like the Indian team) so it may really be wishful thinking to hope that a non aussie team wins this time around. Lets just hope for some exciting 'fast food ' cricket and may the best team win !!

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 6, 2007, 9:24 GMT

    I guess what you should have said was that "I hope other countries can lift their game enough to challenge Australia". The Aussies win cuz their players are tough and very consistent. We should give credit to their players.

    Despite what happened in the World Cup, I do feel that the Pakistani batting line-up will do well.

    I fear our bowlers, particularly the pacers, have the tendency to get creamed for runs. As good as Asif is, his ODI record is not that as impressive as his Test record.

    I think that Umar Gul should be in the playing XI for this format. He is an economical option.

  • Emm Aay on September 6, 2007, 9:24 GMT

    My heart says Pakistan, and my mind says anyone who play better cricket at that day, the reason for favoring Pakistan is very simple, team management has done good job by keeping Mohd. Yousuf and Abdur Razzaq out because they are not very good fielders and select a balance team, also Shoiab and Asif return will strengthen the bowling attack further.In my opinion the team that has self belief in themselves will win this WC, hopefully not the Aussies because enough is enough in past years no team test Aussies consistently, other teams should not wait for Aussies to drop down their standard they should raise/set their own standard.

  • Wasim Akaram on September 6, 2007, 8:54 GMT

    Twenty20 is closest to what amateurs play. i am not sure if people or player will take 20/20 with any seriousness.

  • Zeeshan Nassar on September 6, 2007, 8:15 GMT

    I hope that your wish becomes reality. We are tired of seeing Aussies take all major titles for a log time. It would be absolutely better for cricket he one of the asian teams rise to the occassion and claim the T20. It will then ignite the aussies and as the australians are touring india and pakistan this reason they will be eager to take revenge. As a Pakistani i really think we have a team to beat anyone in this form of the game.

  • John Smith on September 6, 2007, 8:10 GMT

    yeh, just about right mr Abbasi.

    except for may be, Pakistan's WC coallapse was due to poor batting rather than misssing front line bowlers.

    Pakistan have an outstanding chance to progress through to the later stages, based on the selection and peformances in Kenya.

  • Jamal Khan on September 6, 2007, 7:41 GMT

    I disagree with you calling Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar the opening pair. I believe Umar Gul should step up and open with Akhtar. Asif is a genius bowler but his consistency will be punished in the WC.

  • James W on September 6, 2007, 7:32 GMT

    Hi Kamran. While I do enjoy an alternative viewpoint, i'm a little concerned with the anti-australian current that seems to run throughout your blogs. Would be nice to see Australia mentioned without 'anybody else but' mentioned within the same sentence.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, and good luck.

  • Matthew on September 6, 2007, 7:28 GMT

    While I can't comment on cricket in Pakistan, I can say that in New Zealand most amateurs are opposed to playing Twenty20 cricket. This is not "snobbery", but reflects the desire of the average club cricketer to enjoy a full days play, where matches have more purpose than trying to hit every ball to the boundary. In NZ, Twenty20 is being forced on amateur cricketers by the games' administrators, who tell us that we must play it because the professionals are playing it. Amateurs find little enjoyment in the format, and are very much opposed to giving up any one or two-day matches to play Twenty20. The Twenty20 format doesn't have the "feel" of a real cricket match, and just "isn't cricket".

  • Ravi from OZ on September 6, 2007, 6:59 GMT

    Australian team is still the one to beat. They are at another level. It's only entertainment/Time pass at best, if it's an even contest (pity the bowlers). Otherwise it can be absolutely borign with what little I have seen (One-sided contests or contests decided too early).

  • Mian Gul Muhammed on September 6, 2007, 6:58 GMT

    Undoubtly, Australia has ruled the wrold of cricket over the last decade due to their ability, talent and skills. And time and again it has been proved that there is something which other teams had failed to match with the Australia's dominance. Yes we do wish that some other team should wake up to the call face their challange. It might be a very optomistics approach but I feel that Pakistan is shapping up into a unit that will challange their supermacey but very often as we have seen in the past, Pakistanis themselves need to be blamed for their demise. I sincerely hope this will not happen again and we will gain our pride that we used to have. With regard to its Sucess in the Twenty20 world championship, it is very hard to predict which team will emerge victorious as all teams are taking it very seriously and they got some talent. It is a very quick format in which things change so rapidly that some times even unbeliebale can happen. Pakistan is a very talented side and they are capable of doing so. They probably will have (if every one stays fit) the most potent bowling attack and their explosive natured batsmen likes of Nazir, Afridi,Malik will be more suitable to the task. I wish them good luck. The other team that could be a threat is England, as they have been playing version of the game for longer time than anyother country and they got some specialists.

  • vas on September 6, 2007, 6:54 GMT

    Congratulations Kamran. If there was anything to make ur column appear more biased, then it was trying to slag off Australia.

    If Australia are not to win, please let it be because other nations have risen to our level rather than us descending to others.

    It's ok to wish for another team triumphing for the sake of world cricket improving. But if Australia win the tournament, save some face and actually do a column that praises Australia and poses questions on why other nations cant step up in class.

    You'll find most Australians wont mind the sight of another team winning if they play better than us. Why do you think we took the deeds of India 03/04 and England 05 so closely to our hearts? Its because we were challenged by teams that played good cricket and put pressure on us. And if theres nothing Aussies love more, it's a dogfight.

  • Muhammad Tariq on September 6, 2007, 6:47 GMT

    To me the Ist favourite for Twenty20 world cup is the Aussies. It is just because of their ability to adjust quickly with the conditions and the ability to do exactly the same what they can do. They are more professional than any one else. South Africa is the second favourite if they played to their potential. Then the 3rd choice is Pakistan. Pakistan team has got the combination of good Bowling batting and fielding side. and then India, Srilanka, NewZealand, England, WI etc

  • Tariq Vaid on September 6, 2007, 6:14 GMT

    I believe that Pakistan has a genuine chance of winning this WorldCup, if not winning at least they can make it to the finals.

    With attacking batsmens like Nazir, Afridi, Butt, Malik, Akmal; who all have natural instincts to attack n just attack...

    I wish Team Pakistan all the best for this world cup, and I'm putting on them though they're the most unpredictable team in the world...

  • michael adams on September 6, 2007, 6:00 GMT

    I have a sense of fear for this pakistan lot & I will not be surprised if they knocked out early. The reason is simple too many controversies just before the start of a big event, that is not new for pakistan i guess. The firm favourites are australia & west indies. watch out for windies as they have some wonderful unknown strikers.

  • Omer Admani on September 6, 2007, 3:32 GMT

    Well, I still think Razzaq as a batsman alone would have been a superstar in the 20/20 format. Imran Nazir and Afridi seem to be the only two genuine 20/20 batsmen in the team, while I'd say good bowling is not necessarily very good bowlers (like Shoaib and Asif), but the ones who can vary their pace and line and length often enough. A bowler like Collingwood might simply be better than Akther in this format. So, unless, Pakistan practice that way, the good bowlers won't necessarily be the most effective. Although the uncertainty aspect is true, the Australians are very smart in forecasting. I bet they have already practised altering line and length often enough (as they did for the death overs in the ODI worldcup). Also, Australia has Symonds, Ghilcrist, and, to some extent, Brett Lee. Also, their major batsmen always carry a good strike rate either way, so they seem to be the favorites. South Africa, on the other hand, have the allrounders and the crowd will also carry them. I just hope Pakistan practice the right way. 8 years ago this form of cricket would have been made for us ( with Moin Khan, Wasim Akram, and so on).

  • Anam Ahmed on September 6, 2007, 1:34 GMT

    Seriously...am all the way here in the US and I don't want to pay willow TV a $100 to see the Aussies walk away with the cup ...but usually whenever Pakistan have good starts we tend to do bad in the "actual" matches though I hope we don't...but the thing which every Pakistani on this earth has to be excited about is Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar's return !!!! Atleast I am ...I have been dying to see the duo bowling together and knocking out the stumps...as far is batting is concerned we have Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi and one can expect something from Younis Khan as well...Lets just hope for the best and I am really looking forward to this.

  • Muhammad Asif on September 6, 2007, 0:44 GMT

    I think we should hope for compitative cricket instead of hoping anybody but Australia. Why we are scared of Australia, if Australians play well then who will stop them to be Twenty20 champians. Yes one thing can stop them & that is cricket under some new umbrella (other than ICC). So privatize the cricket too, if you wanna see cricket at its best.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 5, 2007, 23:48 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbassi, at the beginning of the Caribbean World Cup you said that, "Australia is the only hindrance between Pakistan and the Cup." This time it is, "Anybody but Australia for the cup," a complete U-turn, eh?

    The success of the Pakistani team in the recently concluded twenty20 quadrangular tournament in Nairobi, is by no means a benchmark of success or a way to measure the team's performance or, to gloat about the batting or bowling prowess or even to say it was a satisfactory performance. In fact, it has exposed a few weaknesses in the team.

    The much touted deadly fast bowling duo of the Rawalpindi Express and the Pakistani Glen McGrath has proved to be very ordinary. They both gave away plenty of runs without doing any damage to the opposition. In fact the Bangladesh team played the first 10 overs better than the Pakistani openers. And thanks to the pace battery for bowling so aimlessly and haphazardly. But, all credit goes to the unknown lad, Nazimuddin, singlehandedly, mercilessly, he clubbed sixes and sevens to disrupt the express pace attack. It was only Afridi who applied the brakes and got a couple of wickets and, not to mention his explosive batting which is 'so far so good.'

    This was expected, all the players performed as expected, the only exception was Younis Khan's batting, I was pleasantly surprised by his batting and I honestly and sincerely hope he continues to play like that. Shoaib Malik's own position in the team is not so convincing. Therefore, in the final match he made some idiotic changes in team selection. As expected Afridi was dropped on the notion that others should be given a chance, when you do this you break the momentum of a player's performance. And, Malik promoted himself up in the batting order, IMO it was a very bad move. Because, Pakistan's opening conundrum is very chronic, so far, Butt and Nazir were doing OK by making a change only to see if he (Malik) can prove his worth or utility in the team is a very immature act.

    No matter what happens, the same opening pair should play in all the matches during the whole tournament. It will boost their confidence that a single bad performance will not rule them out of the next match. Unlike test matches, the shorter version of the game especially, twenty20 is about "playing with confidence." One of the reasons Nazimuddin batted so well is because he had nothing to loose. In today's 6th ODI, England's Luke Wright played with the same notion, he got a chance to prove his worth and he excelled. Because, at the back of his mind there was nothing for him to worry about. Now, it seems that he has assured his place for the final ODI, besides he is already in England's twenty20 squad.

    Your suggestion that 'Pakistan must view this tournament with optimism' appears to be superfluous here. Because, when was a time that they ever viewed anything with pessimism? They have always been over optimistic and over enthusiastic. I think if they are realistically optimistic then they can achieve something in reality, otherwise, there are teams and not just Australia but, England, New Zealand and SA are equally capable of turning the tables against any team. Sri Lanka without Murali will not be that effective to contain the opposition. Australia without Ponting will not be so deadly, I believe Shuan Tait is also not in the OZ team, he bowls deadly yorkers at express pace unlike our Rawalpindi Express. So, my 2 cents are on England, NZ and SA. I don't want to show even the two cents to Pakistan team because they will get distracted like hell. Of course, I want Pakistan to win this twenty20 cup but, in reality, there are many a slip between the lip and the cup.

    Rest assured that, neither Imran Nazir nor Shahid Afridi would ever be using their minds in simplicity or in calmness, it is their madness that wins a match for Pakistan. So, one can say let the twenty20 madness prevail to set the sail of the Pakistani flagship towards victory so that we all can say; hail Afridi and hail Nazir.

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  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 5, 2007, 23:48 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbassi, at the beginning of the Caribbean World Cup you said that, "Australia is the only hindrance between Pakistan and the Cup." This time it is, "Anybody but Australia for the cup," a complete U-turn, eh?

    The success of the Pakistani team in the recently concluded twenty20 quadrangular tournament in Nairobi, is by no means a benchmark of success or a way to measure the team's performance or, to gloat about the batting or bowling prowess or even to say it was a satisfactory performance. In fact, it has exposed a few weaknesses in the team.

    The much touted deadly fast bowling duo of the Rawalpindi Express and the Pakistani Glen McGrath has proved to be very ordinary. They both gave away plenty of runs without doing any damage to the opposition. In fact the Bangladesh team played the first 10 overs better than the Pakistani openers. And thanks to the pace battery for bowling so aimlessly and haphazardly. But, all credit goes to the unknown lad, Nazimuddin, singlehandedly, mercilessly, he clubbed sixes and sevens to disrupt the express pace attack. It was only Afridi who applied the brakes and got a couple of wickets and, not to mention his explosive batting which is 'so far so good.'

    This was expected, all the players performed as expected, the only exception was Younis Khan's batting, I was pleasantly surprised by his batting and I honestly and sincerely hope he continues to play like that. Shoaib Malik's own position in the team is not so convincing. Therefore, in the final match he made some idiotic changes in team selection. As expected Afridi was dropped on the notion that others should be given a chance, when you do this you break the momentum of a player's performance. And, Malik promoted himself up in the batting order, IMO it was a very bad move. Because, Pakistan's opening conundrum is very chronic, so far, Butt and Nazir were doing OK by making a change only to see if he (Malik) can prove his worth or utility in the team is a very immature act.

    No matter what happens, the same opening pair should play in all the matches during the whole tournament. It will boost their confidence that a single bad performance will not rule them out of the next match. Unlike test matches, the shorter version of the game especially, twenty20 is about "playing with confidence." One of the reasons Nazimuddin batted so well is because he had nothing to loose. In today's 6th ODI, England's Luke Wright played with the same notion, he got a chance to prove his worth and he excelled. Because, at the back of his mind there was nothing for him to worry about. Now, it seems that he has assured his place for the final ODI, besides he is already in England's twenty20 squad.

    Your suggestion that 'Pakistan must view this tournament with optimism' appears to be superfluous here. Because, when was a time that they ever viewed anything with pessimism? They have always been over optimistic and over enthusiastic. I think if they are realistically optimistic then they can achieve something in reality, otherwise, there are teams and not just Australia but, England, New Zealand and SA are equally capable of turning the tables against any team. Sri Lanka without Murali will not be that effective to contain the opposition. Australia without Ponting will not be so deadly, I believe Shuan Tait is also not in the OZ team, he bowls deadly yorkers at express pace unlike our Rawalpindi Express. So, my 2 cents are on England, NZ and SA. I don't want to show even the two cents to Pakistan team because they will get distracted like hell. Of course, I want Pakistan to win this twenty20 cup but, in reality, there are many a slip between the lip and the cup.

    Rest assured that, neither Imran Nazir nor Shahid Afridi would ever be using their minds in simplicity or in calmness, it is their madness that wins a match for Pakistan. So, one can say let the twenty20 madness prevail to set the sail of the Pakistani flagship towards victory so that we all can say; hail Afridi and hail Nazir.

  • Muhammad Asif on September 6, 2007, 0:44 GMT

    I think we should hope for compitative cricket instead of hoping anybody but Australia. Why we are scared of Australia, if Australians play well then who will stop them to be Twenty20 champians. Yes one thing can stop them & that is cricket under some new umbrella (other than ICC). So privatize the cricket too, if you wanna see cricket at its best.

  • Anam Ahmed on September 6, 2007, 1:34 GMT

    Seriously...am all the way here in the US and I don't want to pay willow TV a $100 to see the Aussies walk away with the cup ...but usually whenever Pakistan have good starts we tend to do bad in the "actual" matches though I hope we don't...but the thing which every Pakistani on this earth has to be excited about is Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar's return !!!! Atleast I am ...I have been dying to see the duo bowling together and knocking out the stumps...as far is batting is concerned we have Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi and one can expect something from Younis Khan as well...Lets just hope for the best and I am really looking forward to this.

  • Omer Admani on September 6, 2007, 3:32 GMT

    Well, I still think Razzaq as a batsman alone would have been a superstar in the 20/20 format. Imran Nazir and Afridi seem to be the only two genuine 20/20 batsmen in the team, while I'd say good bowling is not necessarily very good bowlers (like Shoaib and Asif), but the ones who can vary their pace and line and length often enough. A bowler like Collingwood might simply be better than Akther in this format. So, unless, Pakistan practice that way, the good bowlers won't necessarily be the most effective. Although the uncertainty aspect is true, the Australians are very smart in forecasting. I bet they have already practised altering line and length often enough (as they did for the death overs in the ODI worldcup). Also, Australia has Symonds, Ghilcrist, and, to some extent, Brett Lee. Also, their major batsmen always carry a good strike rate either way, so they seem to be the favorites. South Africa, on the other hand, have the allrounders and the crowd will also carry them. I just hope Pakistan practice the right way. 8 years ago this form of cricket would have been made for us ( with Moin Khan, Wasim Akram, and so on).

  • michael adams on September 6, 2007, 6:00 GMT

    I have a sense of fear for this pakistan lot & I will not be surprised if they knocked out early. The reason is simple too many controversies just before the start of a big event, that is not new for pakistan i guess. The firm favourites are australia & west indies. watch out for windies as they have some wonderful unknown strikers.

  • Tariq Vaid on September 6, 2007, 6:14 GMT

    I believe that Pakistan has a genuine chance of winning this WorldCup, if not winning at least they can make it to the finals.

    With attacking batsmens like Nazir, Afridi, Butt, Malik, Akmal; who all have natural instincts to attack n just attack...

    I wish Team Pakistan all the best for this world cup, and I'm putting on them though they're the most unpredictable team in the world...

  • Muhammad Tariq on September 6, 2007, 6:47 GMT

    To me the Ist favourite for Twenty20 world cup is the Aussies. It is just because of their ability to adjust quickly with the conditions and the ability to do exactly the same what they can do. They are more professional than any one else. South Africa is the second favourite if they played to their potential. Then the 3rd choice is Pakistan. Pakistan team has got the combination of good Bowling batting and fielding side. and then India, Srilanka, NewZealand, England, WI etc

  • vas on September 6, 2007, 6:54 GMT

    Congratulations Kamran. If there was anything to make ur column appear more biased, then it was trying to slag off Australia.

    If Australia are not to win, please let it be because other nations have risen to our level rather than us descending to others.

    It's ok to wish for another team triumphing for the sake of world cricket improving. But if Australia win the tournament, save some face and actually do a column that praises Australia and poses questions on why other nations cant step up in class.

    You'll find most Australians wont mind the sight of another team winning if they play better than us. Why do you think we took the deeds of India 03/04 and England 05 so closely to our hearts? Its because we were challenged by teams that played good cricket and put pressure on us. And if theres nothing Aussies love more, it's a dogfight.

  • Mian Gul Muhammed on September 6, 2007, 6:58 GMT

    Undoubtly, Australia has ruled the wrold of cricket over the last decade due to their ability, talent and skills. And time and again it has been proved that there is something which other teams had failed to match with the Australia's dominance. Yes we do wish that some other team should wake up to the call face their challange. It might be a very optomistics approach but I feel that Pakistan is shapping up into a unit that will challange their supermacey but very often as we have seen in the past, Pakistanis themselves need to be blamed for their demise. I sincerely hope this will not happen again and we will gain our pride that we used to have. With regard to its Sucess in the Twenty20 world championship, it is very hard to predict which team will emerge victorious as all teams are taking it very seriously and they got some talent. It is a very quick format in which things change so rapidly that some times even unbeliebale can happen. Pakistan is a very talented side and they are capable of doing so. They probably will have (if every one stays fit) the most potent bowling attack and their explosive natured batsmen likes of Nazir, Afridi,Malik will be more suitable to the task. I wish them good luck. The other team that could be a threat is England, as they have been playing version of the game for longer time than anyother country and they got some specialists.

  • Ravi from OZ on September 6, 2007, 6:59 GMT

    Australian team is still the one to beat. They are at another level. It's only entertainment/Time pass at best, if it's an even contest (pity the bowlers). Otherwise it can be absolutely borign with what little I have seen (One-sided contests or contests decided too early).