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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Latif backs India to win World Cup

March 21, 2003 21:46 IST

India's cricketers have received support from an unexpected quarter as they prepare to battle Australia in Sunday's World Cup final -- arch rivals Pakistan.

Pakistan's new captain, Rashid Latif, said on Friday India deserves to win the tournament in South Africa for the way they had fought themselves back into contention.

"Everybody is saying Australia will win the final," he told Reuters. "I agree the way they have been playing they start off as favourites. But I think India deserve to win the World Cup.

"Purely for the way they have fought back after their dismal performance against the Aussies at Centurion five weeks ago.

"Their transformation has been remarkable."

India handed a six wicket defeat to Pakistan in a much hyped match on March 1 and wicketkeeper Latif was a member of the losing side.

The match between two hostile neighbours, who nearly went to war last year over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, was the first since June 2000.

The Indian government has banned all bilateral cricket with Pakistan since then because of tensions over Kashmir.

Latif said if one took into account how Indian fans had reacted angrily over India's early poor form in the World Cup -- when they were handed a nine-wicket thrashing by Australia -- and the way captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright had rallied the team to reach the final, they would not be pushovers.

"I think it is going to be one hell of a match. Australia are the reigning champions but I think the Indians are playing their best and most balanced cricket at the moment," he said.

"And with Sachin Tendulkar in such magnificent form, I think he is more than a match for the Australian bowlers."

The 34-year-old Latif was appointed Pakistan captain this week in place of the deposed Waqar Younis after Pakistan failed to move beyond the preliminary round of the World Cup.

"Tendulkar is on course to be the player of the tournament and definitely deserves this distinction," he said.

"It is his positive approach... which has helped India to achieve all these superb wins."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Number of User Comments: 15




Sub: with ref to latif's statement

Hats' off latiff.....you are great.....I admire your sportsman spirit.... anjanee


Posted by anjanee





Sub: Thanks letter

Thanks you Mr.R.Latif.Your words is like a true sports man. Hope for sucess as a caption. Thanks once again.


Posted by M.Pramanik





Sub: unexpected

It is very heartening to see what the newly appointed pakistani captain has predicted that the indian team desrves to win this world cup. We ...


Posted by R.Raj Mohammed





Sub: unexpected

It is very heartening to see what the newly appointed pakistani captain has predicted that the indian team desrves to win this world cup. We ...


Posted by R.Raj Mohammed





Sub: changing attitude

Hope this will be a significant change and may encourage both indian and pakistan politicians to change their mind also !!!!!!!!


Posted by gipson




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