February 26, 2003

Dutch captain writes off England, India and Pakistan

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PAARL, South Africa, Feb 25 AFP - Roland Lefebvre, captain of the Netherlands, predicted today that neither England, India nor Pakistan will win the World Cup.

Instead, he reckons reigning champions Australia, hosts South Africa and New Zealand are way ahead of the rest of the pack to reach the March 23 final at Johannesburg.

Lefebvre, leading the Dutch in only their second World Cup, was clearly unimpressed with England, India and Pakistan even though his team was routed by all three teams in the preliminary league.

"I don't think they have got what it takes. All three of them lack a bit of confidence," the Dutch captain said.

"England played solidly at Newlands against Pakistan. They probably are the best bet of the three teams to qualify for the Super Sixes."

Lefebvre's remarks came after his team succumbed to a 97-run defeat to Pakistan today, their fourth successive defeat in a row.

The 36-year-old, who played county cricket in England, has led the Dutch team since his retirement from professional cricket five years ago.

His lone wicket against Pakistan was his 200th for the Netherlands.

Lefebvre was proud the way his team played in the tournament despite the defeats.

"The team was competitive and was not rolled over or thrashed by the big teams," he said.

"It is a big plus that we could take 19 wickets in the big matches against India and Pakistan.

"The lack of pace bowling in the league back home and the high quality of spin in this World Cup have found us wanting a bit."