WC 2003 - Waqar likely to be sacked, tough times ahead for Pak

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Pakistan's team is in danger of an overhaul, including possibly a new captain, after their worst ever World Cup campaign ended on Tuesday.Pakistan, champions in 1992 and runners-up four years ago, managed only two victories against minnows Namibia and the Netherlands after starting the tournament as one of the favourites.It could signal the end of the road for at least four ageing stars - Wasim Akram, captain Waqar Younis, opening batsman Saeed Anwar and wicket-keeper Rashid Latif - as Pakistan look to the future.Former Test captain Intikhab Alam is convinced Waqar's tenure as captain is over. "Waqar lost support even among his team-mates after Pakistan was blanked by Australia in the Test series in Sri Lanka and Sharjah in October," Intikhab said."He obviously has lost faith in his key players because he dropped off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq in crucial games." Saqlain, placed sixth in the list of the world's leading One-day bowlers, was not picked for matches against Australia and India.Under-siege Waqar said the team needed to look within it self to find out the reason for the poor display. "We are ourselves to blame for this because we did not play to our full potential," said Waqar, but declined to reveal his future plans."I will sit with my family and friends and then decide what to do," he said.Pakistan's much-vaunted bowling attack, lead by world record holder Wasim Akram, failed to deliver against Australia, India and England.Imran Khan, who captained Pakistan to the title 11 years ago, said the team management erred while picking teams. "It was difficult to understand the policy, you never knew who was playing and who was not. There was no consistency," Imran said."Moreover, the defensive mindset of the captain was evident in almost all matches. You have to attack to win." Pakistan used four opening combinations in five matches and tried four batsmen at the pivotal number three position.The wayward selections prompted even General Pervez Musharraf, the country's President, to describe the team as "disorganised." Former captain Javed Miandad called for a complete overhaul of the national team. "Despite a professional coach and veteran stars in the side, Pakistan did not get their basics right. I think it is time for a shake-up," Miandad said.It is almost certain that Pakistan's South Africa-based coach Richard Pybus will not be retained, and he knows it. "My contract was until this World Cup and it is a huge disappointment to go out like this," Pybus said.Former captain Asif Iqbal said the Pakistan Cricket Board also needed to share the responsibility of defeat. "We have been hearing for the last four years that Pakistan was preparing for this World Cup, but it appears we were the least prepared of all the teams," Iqbal said.Former fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz said he was not surprised by Pakistan's dismal showing. "I said before the World Cup started that Pakistan will not qualify for the Super Sixes," he said."You can't win a derby with an ageing horse and we had many of them in the team." The World Cup disaster will add to Pakistan cricket woes, already suffering in the aftermath of September 11 events of 2001 with teams refusing to tour the strife-torn country.Copyright AFP 2001

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