Anybody but Australia for the Cup
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