August 29, 2001

Repeat of 1999 World Cup unlikely: Naimur

Bangladesh ruled out any possibilities of repeating the 1999 World Cup performance against Pakistan in the Asian Test Championship opener when skipper Naimur Rehman said miracles don't happen everyday.

"The scenario is different. It was a one-day game in which things can turn around rapidly. But this is a five-day game and you have to be consistent throughout to emerge winners," Naimur told Dawn at the Multan Cricket Stadium Tuesday.

Bangladesh caused the upset of the 1999 World Cup when they trounced Pakistan by 62 runs at Northampton which raised cries of foul-play, chiefly by South African Cricket Board managing director Dr Ali Bacher. Pakistan has ordered investigations into the allegations, also including the loss to India in the Super Six stage.

"It's difficult for us because we have not played many five-day games. Let's see what happens over the next five days but we will try to put up a good show," the 26-year-old bowling all-rounder said.

Ironically, Pakistan captain Waqar Younis played his only match in the World Cup against Bangladesh. The current Bangladesh squad has six survivors from that historic triumph which went a long way in earning them Test status.

Naimur said he respected Pakistan's strength but was not willing to be demoralized by their reputation and ability to virtually destroy their opponents on their day.

Asked if Bangladesh's reputation as a three-day team hurt him, Naimur said: "Wait and see. No comments at this stage."

However, the Bangladesh captain said he had a glimmer of a hope after Pakistan lost four straight home series, including three against lowly placed Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and England.

"Pakistan is a strong side. They probably lost (home series') during their bad times owing to poor form. But they have the capacity and capability to bounce back and come right at you."

Naimur said he and his boys had been following players like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis during their pre-Test days. "We used to follow them very closely. But now, we are in the same level which is exciting and something to be proud of. But still there is a huge mental and approach difference between us and them."