Younis says team needs backing for Cup challenge

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 20:31 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistan cricket captain Waqar Younis on Tuesday admitted his team's poor form ahead of next month's World Cup was a serious problem. "The recent performance of the Pakistan cricket team has been a cause of grave concern," Waqar said in a statement, a day after he returned home from a disastrous tour of South Africa where his team lost the One-day series 4-1 and both Tests by big margins.

"I attribute playing on the trot under hostile conditions as one of the factors that exhausted the players' minds and added to the stress level. "However, I feel that whatever the reason, it is not an excuse to cover up the bad performance." Under Waqar, Pakistan was routed by Australia 3-0 in their neutral venue series in October last year.

The team is due to leave for South Africa on January 24 where the World Cup starts from February 8. Waqar hoped the team would overcome the shortcomings. "I am confident... we will prove to be a formidable opposition and will rise to the expectations of the 140 million people of Pakistan. "My only request to everyone is to pray for our success, believe in us and offer positive encouragement so that every member of the squad could take on the challenge of the World Cup 2003 with zeal, confidence and poise."

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