Half-fit Shoaib can win World Cup for Pakistan, says Intikhab

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NEW DELHI - Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam feels that “half-fit” Shoaib Akhtar is good enough to give the country its second World Cup win.

Intikhab, who coached Pakistan to 1992 World Cup triumph and Twenty20 World Cup title in 2009, was confident that team will put up a good show in the World Cup and hoped that Shoaib, nicknamed Rawalpindi Express, still has the ability to perform well.

“Shoaib’s not fully fit, but even a half fit Akhtar can lift Pakistan to glory. He needs to be utilised carefully during the World Cup to get the best out of him. A lot could depend on the weather, the heat, the humidity as to how Shoaib is utilised by the skipper,” the former captain was quoted as saying by Pakpassion.net.

“At the moment in Bangladesh the weather is very nice, it’s not too warm, but we’ll have to see what the weather is like in Sri Lanka in the group stages,” he added.

Initikhab was happy with the team’s training session in Dhaka. Pakistan will be playing two warm-up games in Bangladesh involving the home team and England.

“We’ve had a couple of good training sessions since we arrived in Bangladesh. Everything is going well. The boys are in good spirits and the fitness levels are okay. We’re all looking forward to getting started against Bangladesh,” he said.

“Botch matches are extremely important with regards to the build-up and planning, and we will be going all out to win both matches.”

Intikhab said that despite having spinners like Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Abdul Rehman, Pakistan’s bowling attack won’t be over dependent on spin.

“The time for experimentation is over. We have to select our best eleven players and ensure they are full of confidence going into the World Cup group matches. It’s all about the conditions that we encounter. We’ll take it match by match. In New Zealand, Ajmal and Rehman didn’t get much of a look in, but that was largely due to the conditions that we encountered.

“Ajmal was an ever-present previously but it’s good that there is competition in the side and nobody’s place is guaranteed in the starting eleven. I expect that only two spinners will start in most matches. We are very fortunate that we have the versatile Hafeez who can open the batting, as well as bowl his quota of overs, but I would say that Rehman and Afridi are the first choice spinners.”

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