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Akram tips Lanka to win World Cup
February 27, 2007 14:34 IST
Former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram has said Sri Lanka were the dark horses in the ensuing World Cup and tipped them to claim the title at the Caribbean.
"They have some extremely talented players and in my book they can upset anyone to win the title," Akram said of the 1996 edition title holders.
The former tearaway bowler said Pakistan's strength was its middle order which had a lot of experience behind it and was "one of the best in the world".
But at the same he was candid in saying that Pakistan's chances in the tournament were 50-50 as they were struggling with a number of issues.
"Pakistan have too many injuries and other problems and there is also a problem in finding a reliable opening pair. Their chances are 50-50.
"Pakistan are struggling with injury worries to key bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif and without this duo the team will definitely find it difficult going in the tournament," he said on the sidelines of a function.
He also said Pakistan did not have a great fielding outfit and no solution had been found to finding a good opening pair.
"This is why I don't think Pakistan are favourites this time and will find it tough going in the tournament."
Criticising the team management, the veteran of 356 one-day internationals, said the captain, coach and selectors were responsible for not being able to settle upon a suitable opening pair as yet and had experimented a lot.
Akram also criticised them for not selecting all-rounder Azhar Mahmood in the 15-member squad.
"He (Azhar) is an energetic player and has a never-say-die attitude. He has the ability to win matches against any side and I think selectors made a big mistake by overlooking him."
He, however, praised the selection of leg-spinner Danish Kaneria as a good move, which would help the team in the tournament.
"He can be the surprise trump card for Pakistan in the West Indies," he said.
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