South Africans are choking under pressure, insists Imran
Published: Friday, February 21, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
South Africans need to handle pressure to avoid choking
Johannesburg: Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Thursday gave host South Africa the thumbs down, saying Shaun Pollock's men were choking under the pressure of being the hosts. "There is too much pressure on Pollock and his team," Imran, Pakistan's World Cup winning captain in 1992, said. Having lost to the West Indies and New Zealand, South Africa faces a tough task to make the Super Six round from Group 'B'. "The Australians under Allan Border were the best team in 1992 World Cup but they failed to win at home," Imran said. "Pakistan and India have also suffered the fate twice as hosts in 1987 and 1996 and it will be a huge disappointment for home fans if South Africa do not qualify for the next round," he said. Imran said the team which impressed him so far was New Zealand. "I am impressed with the spirit New Zealand has shown in this World Cup," he said. "I would hate to predict a winner but the Kiwis must fancy their chances." New Zealand, beaten by Sri Lanka in its opening match, stunned South Africa at the Wanderers following a brilliant century by skipper Stephen Fleming. Meanwhile, Imran said he was pained to see Pakistan drop premier batsman Inzamam-ul- Haq down the order. "Matches so far in this World Cup have been won through top order batsmen like Brian Lara, Fleming and Sachin Tendulkar. There is no reason why Inzamam should be playing at four. "He is the best batsman in the team and should play as many overs as possible." Pakistan takes on England in its third match at Newlands on Saturday.