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I want India to reach semis: Akhtar

September 30, 2009 09:00 IST

Out-of-favour Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar wants arch-rival India to reach the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy so that the event does not lose its charm and interest.

shoaib akhtar"I would like to see India qualify for the semi finals because their presence will make the tournament more interesting and colorful and we might even end up with a Indo-Pak final which could be a super boost for one-day cricket," Shoaib said on Duniya channel.

Akhtar, who was not picked for the Champions Trophy, said India could beat West Indies by a big margin and qualify for the semi-finals despite their disappointing form.

"There is no doubt that at the moment India is short on confidence and Pakistan is high on confidence. But India can change things.

"India is capable of beating the under strength West Indian side by a margin of more than 100 runs. And if they qualify for the semi finals I think we will see a totally different Indian team in the knockout stage," he said.

Akhtar said India could become a danger for the other teams if they reach the semi-finals as their body language and performances would definitely change for better and they would be a different side in the knockout stage.

"Naturally I would love to see Pakistan win the Champions Trophy because that is my team but India must also remain in the competition because they bring value to the competition," he said.

Akhtar said it was ironic that Indian fans were praying for the success of the Pakistan team against Australia so that their team could have a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. 

"This is why they say cricket is a funny old game," he joked. 

Akhtar said it was important for Pakistan to continue their winning momentum against Australia as beating a top side upped the morale of any team. 

"I think thematch will decide whether Pakistan has the ability to go all the way to win the tournament," he added.

Akhtar also felt that Pakistan needed to rest pacer, Umar Gul against Australia since he was looking tired and needed a well deserved rest. 

"I just fear if they persist with him he can break down in coming series," he said. 

Akhtar felt off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was still not being properly utilised yet and he could play a decisive role against Australia. 

"The Australians don't like him and the best way to disturb them is to give Saeed a leading bowling role in the match," he said.

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