Intikhab lauds Razzaq’s match-winning ton

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

KARACHI - Pakistan cricket manager Intikhab Alam Tuesday said Abdul Razzaq’s match-winning knock of 109 agaist South Africa in the second ODI could well be the turning point for the struggling green-shirts ahead of the all important 2011 World Cup.

Razzaq’s smashing century gave Pakistan a wicket’s win over the Proteas with the series nicely poised at 1-1.

Intikhab is confident that Razzaq’s match-winning ton will lift the team’s morale in the lead up to World Cup 2011 scheduled to get under way next February.

“This could be the turning point for our team,” Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam told The News Tuesday.

“Things have not gone well for us in the recent past but I am sure all of it is going to change.”

Intikhab hailed Razzaq’s 72-ball 109 as the best ODI knock.

“It was the best-ever one-day innings I have ever seen. It was a pleasure to be a part of it,” he said.

“This knock will lift the morale of the entire team, I am sure about that,” stressed Intikhab. “We needed such a flash of brilliance after losing the two Twenty20 games and then going down tamely in the first ODI,” he added.

Intikhab said that thanks to Razzaq Pakistan are now in a perfect position to launch an assault to win this five-match series - a result that he believes will put Pakistan back on track in their preparations for the World Cup.

“Our team has shown a lot of character,” he said. “It was time it did because our results were not up the mark and because the World Cup is not far away. The team has to get back on track and I am sure that it will after the way we won last night.”

Intikhab said that the team’s captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis have been giving their players a lot of confidence. “It is a very professional atmosphere in the Pakistan camp here,” he said.

“The captain and coach are always having a pep talk with one player or the other. They are trying to give them confidence and raise their morale and its working.”

The manager revealed that Razaaq was under pressure to perform before scoring the memorable century.

“When you are losing matches and the players are not performing well you are bound to come under pressure,” said Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam in an interview.

“In such circumstances everybody comes under scrutiny and Razzaq is no exception. But professional cricketers will always bounce back just like Razzaq did last night. It is their ability to do that which separates them from ordinary players.”

Soon after guiding Pakistan to a series-equalling victory, Razzaq declared that he felt insecure about his place in the team and urged national selectors to end uncertainty surrounding the composition of the Pakistan line-up.

Since last year when he made his international return at the 2009 ICC World T 20 Championship in England, Razzaq has been under the scanner. Some of his critics even rejected him as a spent force after a series of unimpressive outings but Intikhab said that he and fellow team officials never doubted the all-rounder’s potential.

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