Inaugural winners India and South Africa are going to be the biggest threats to Pakistan’s ambition to defend the Twenty20 World Cup title in the West Indies, feels former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.
“India and South Africa, I think, are the greatest threats to Pakistan’s ambition to win the T20 World Cup. I am very impressed with the disciplined way South Africans play, while the Indians have some dangerous players with plenty of flair,” Inzamam said.
Inzamam, however, said that the Pakistan squad is a balanced one and have the wherewithal to defend the title.
“The way I see it this Pakistan team is well balanced and so strong for this format of the game. It shouldn’t lose to any team unless they self-destruct with internal issues,” said Inzamam.
“The bowling is strong and has variety so that will be their strength but the batting has issues and the senior players will have to shoulder the responsibilities,” he added.
Inzamam, who has played 120 Tests and 318 one-dayers, feels that Misbah-ul-Haq should anchor the innings as he was capable of playing long innings but the others also have to play their natural game.
“Shahid Afridi is perfect for T20 cricket and he has lot of energy and enthusiasm as a captain. He will be vital to Pakistan’s success in the tournament. I see him turning out to be an inspirational leader for his team,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain and ex-chief selector Aamir Sohail predicted a more sedate World Cup this time.
“I don’t think we will see the high ratio of sixes and big totals this time in this tournament mainly because of the pitches and the weather conditions in the West Indies would also test the teams,” Sohail said.
Sohail said initially when T20 cricket was launched the bowlers were struggling but now they had read the format well and were not running away any more.
“The bowlers now try to take wickets, it is not just about big hitting. This World Cup will be all about which team display better skills and play clinical and sensible cricket,” he observed.
The former opener pointed out that T20 cricket had also evolved over the last few years and the World Cup would be different in nature from the Indian Premier League.
Sohail said that the Pakistan team was well suited and equipped for the World Cup but he disagreed with the selection of left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman as a replacement for the injured Yasir Arafat.
“We have enough spinners in the side and I don’t think Rehman will get a chance to play in this tournament,” he said.