Hussain likely to play in England~~s tie against Pakistan
Published: Saturday, February 22, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Cape Town: England captain Nasser Hussain is likely to be fit to play the high- octane World Cup clash against Pakistan under lights at Newlands on Saturday, coach Duncan Fletcher said. Buoyed by Hussain's recovery from a sprained neck which forced him to miss Wednesday's game against Namibia, Fletcher warned, "People must be wary of England. It doesn't give up." Hussain batted three times in the nets on Friday and Fletcher said he was optimistic the captain would be fit to play the crucial Group 'A' game. Fletcher, returning to the ground where he was a successful coach of the Western Province team before taking the England job, said England would go in to the match high on confidence after finishing its recent Australian tour strongly. "We really gave Australia a scrap in the One-dayers on its own grounds," said Fletcher. "Even though we didn't win a game against it we gave it a fright. It's given us a lot of confidence that Australia has come over and beaten two sides we have to play - Pakistan and India - very comprehensively." Pakistani captain Waqar Younis was equally confident, remembering his team's 3-0 win over England in the tri-series in June 2001. He said Pakistan wanted to win its remaining group matches, following a loss against Australia in its opening match, to ensure it not only qualified for the Super Six stage but carried points forward. Waqar admitted the Pakistan batsmen had been "struggling a little" but said England had the same predicament. "The side that bowls better will win the game," he said. Waqar made it clear Pakistan was better equipped in the strike bowling stakes, with Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and himself making up a formidable pace trio. "Looking at the last few games, Shoaib has been bowling well and with his pace he can be really lethal, while Wasim is taking wickets. As far as fast bowling is concerned we're doing really well." Waqar said he thought Pakistan had been playing well lately. He blamed poor bowling to the Australian middle order for allowing Australia to make a massive 310 for eight in its match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, leading to an 82-run win for Australia.