Pakistan captain Rehan Butt has admitted to feeling the pressure of facing India on the opening day of the World Cup on February 28.

“It is a big match but the form will be known only during the match,” said Butt soon after the team arrived from Lahore by bus on Monday.

The players looked tired but were willing to speak to the media, in contrast to the attempts by the organising committee to bar media interaction even when team officials from Canada were willing.

“We are looking forward to the World Cup. We had a month-long camp and the preparations were good,” added Butt.

Shakeel Abbasi described the travel that started at 4.30 a.m. from Lahore, as “too tiring,” and told the waiting group of journalists in a jocular vein, “each of one of you seems like two to me.”

Coach Asif Bajwa called it a very important tour. “We took the bus because we want to extend the hand of friendship to our neighbours. We were told by the PM that we are ambassadors of our country.”

Amid tight security, the team arrived to a quiet reception at the Le Meridien Hotel here at 8 p.m. Escorted by commandos, the team travelled via Wagah border with stops at Amritsar and Patiala.

Once the bus reached the Ambedkar Stadium terminal, the players were shifted to another bus that brought them to the team hotel.

The security was understandably tight but the security personnel were pleasantly polite and accommodating. Photographers were given a vantage position to click away.


The enduring charm of the World CupFebruary 23, 2010

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