Pakistan can’t be ruled out of World Cup title contention: Ramiz Raja

Saturday, January 22, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan cannot be ruled out of the title contention for the ICC World Cup 2011, which starts on February 19, Pakistani cricketer-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja has said.

“I don’t think Pakistan can be ruled out of title contention. There will be less pressure on them and for our players 50-over cricket is a pretty natural format as they are natural hitters of the ball. And with the World Cup being played on sub-continental pitches I think the conditions will suit them,” the Daily Times quoted Ramiz, as saying.

He said that while Pakistan struggled in Test cricket because some of its players simply lacked the temperament to graft out long innings, the 50-overs format suited them.

“Pakistan have a fairly settled and a very good one-day side. They know the art of playing one-day cricket,” he maintained.

The ex-cricketer also observed that the wickets in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh would suit spinners, and that the final 15-member Pakistani squad had two spin attack specialists.

“I think they have done a good job to pick two specialist spinners in the squad in Abdul Rehman and Saeed Ajmal who are in form and bowling well. And I think both of them can also played on the sub-continental pitches,” he said.

Ramiz said the team would also be depending heavily on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.

“They could be nearing the end of their careers but they remain heavyweights and the team would be depending heavily on them in this World Cup, and if [they] manage to fire, things will be easier for Pakistan. With Shoaib you can’t rule out another strong comeback for him. And I think both of them know this is their last World Cup and final shot at glory in this tournament,” he maintained.

He also advised Pakistani cricket fans to stop hoping for a comeback by any one of the suspended trio- Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif - in the World Cup.

“To me the case against them is an open and shut one, and I think the writing is on the wall. The synchronization between what Mazhar Majeed says and what is happening on the field is damaging,” he added.

The ICC anti-corruption tribunal is due to announce its verdict on the spot-fixing charges against the Pakistani trio on February 5. (ANI)

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