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Updated: April 29, 2010 18:55 IST

Spinners give India, Pakistan an edge: Akram, Raja

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A file photo of Wasim Akram.
PTI A file photo of Wasim Akram.

Former Pakistani captains Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja believe that India and title holders Pakistan will have an edge over other teams in the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies because of their quality spin attacks.

Wasim rated India and Pakistan as favourites to reach the final of the tournament to be held in the Caribbean from April 30 to May 16.

“I would say India and Pakistan start off with the advantage as they are good in this form of the game and they also have quality spinners to take advantage of the pitches in the West Indies,” Akram said.

The former left-arm pacer said despite being short on international cricket, Pakistan will be a strong side in the tournament.

“Don’t forget that Pakistani players didn’t feature in the IPL so they are relatively fresh compared to other teams. They have not played much international cricket in recent times, so the players would be very keen to leave their mark on the World Cup,” Akram stated.

He also said that in Shahid Afridi Pakistan have a young and an aggressive captain.

“Pakistan also has a very aggressive skipper in Shahid Afridi who is ideal for this format. He has proved in the past that he excels in T20 cricket,” Akram added.

Ramiz, who left for the West Indies on Wednesday as part of ESPN STAR Sports’ commentary team, said he backed India and Pakistan because of their Twenty20 experience and quality spin attack.

“In this type of cricket all teams have equal chances to do well and predictions are hard to make. But I would say India and Pakistan have an edge because they are led by inspirational captains and they relish this form of the game,” he said.

Ramiz also conceded that Pakistan would miss Umar Gul’s services after the pacer was ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury last week.

“In Gul’s absence, Afridi and Abdul Razzaq will hold the key for Pakistan since they are experienced players and can adapt to the pressure situations,” he said.

“There is no dearth of talent in the Pakistan team but the problem is that the players can’t absorb pressure,” he added.

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