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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Aamir Sohail

'Pakistan will have a walk
in park against India'

February 19, 2003

Aamir SohailAamir Sohail, the feisty former Pakistan opener and captain, has always been known to speak his mind. The left-hander, now a commentator, spoke to Ashish Magotra on Pakistan's chances in the World Cup. He also backs his country in the crunch game against India on March 1.

The Pakistan team is always known to be very talented but you never know how they will perform on the day...

There is individual brilliance in the side but it needs to be harnessed. They don't seem to gel at times, and falter. I think if they harness their talent and play as a team they can be unbeatable.

What do you think are the weaknesses and strengths of this team?

Their strength is bowling, no doubt about it. When you talk about weaknesses, at times they seem to give up easily. In pressure situations, people like Inzaman-ul Haq and a few other senior players just give up. If these guys can put their hand up in pressure situations that can make a difference.

Are you surprised that even though Pakistan have been here for almost two months they don't seem to have acclimatised very well?

Acclimatisation is not such a big issue these days. Players travel all over the world so they know the conditions. Pakistan has been playing here for some time and have had a feel of the wickets. They just need to lift themselves.

Where do you think Inzaman should bat at?

Number three. The top batsmen in any line-up should bat at the top of the order. The batsmen performing in this World Cup are either opening or batting at no 3. The only exception is Andrew Symonds and even he had plenty of overs to play with. If Inzaman has to make a mark he has to bat at number three.

Do you think Azhar Mahmood should have a bigger part to play? He scored a century on debut here [South Africa].

The way Abdur Razzaq is playing at the moment he needs a wake-up call. Maybe, they should give Mahmood, who has been on the sidelines for long and will be fresh, a chance. It can really work.

Aamir SohailIndia has had the upper hand in earlier encounters at the World Cup...

The Pakistanis have yet to beat India in the World Cup so this is a brilliant opportunity. Most Indian batsmen seem to be struggling against pace and Pakistan has the bowlers to trouble them. Shoaib Akhtar has the pace; Wasim Akram looks to be back to his best, and Waqar Younis is still plugging away. Supporting them is Saqlain Mushtaq, a quality spinner. If they come up with the right plan and rattle the Indians with the short stuff Pakistan will have a walk in the park.

The 1996 World Cup encounter against India at Bangalore. What do you remember about that game?

It was just another game. We had to put our lives on the line to get some runs. It was a pity that the middle order did not click, or we would have won easily.

Why do you think India-Pakistan games generate so much passion? To most fans on both sides, it is more than just a game.

For the players it is just another game. There is a bit of added pressure because people are expecting you to perform. It's just the people and the media who create the hype.

The Indian team is struggling.

Yes. Let us hope they don't come back for Pakistan's sake. At the moment they don't have a clue what they are doing on the field; their batsmen are not clicking, the bowlers are struggling. I think Pakistan should back themselves against the Indians. This time Pakistan will turn it around.

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