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Pakistan first team to arrive in South Africa for WC

Published: Saturday, January 25, 2003, 23:55 [IST]
 
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Johannesburg: Pakistan was the first team to arrive for the World Cup in South Africa on Saturday, saying a three-week rest has put them back in form for the series. "The World Cup is the tournament everyone is geared up for," captain Waqar Younis said. "We are the first team to come here and we have got an extra week compared to other teams so we must make sure we utilise it."

Pakistan, one of the most unpredictable sides in world cricket, had a miserable tour of South Africa last month where it lost the One-day series 4-1 before losing both Tests. But Younis felt that a three-week break since that tour ended has done them the world of good. "If you look overall, we played for six months on the trot, in Sri Lanka, Kenya, Sharjah, Zimbabwe and South Africa, so needed to rest," he said.

"It was the best break for us, we spent most of the time speaking about what went wrong and how we could sort out the problems." Pakistan's first World Cup match is against Australia at The Wanderers on February 11. The team is pitted in Pool 'A' alongside Australia, England, India, the Netherlands, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The top three teams will qualify for the Super Sixes stage. The eighth World Cup starts with an opening ceremony in Cape Town on February 8 with a record 14 teams lining part. Most of the matches will be in South Africa while Zimbabwe will stage six games and Kenya will host two.

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