We want to win the match against India badly: Waqar

Published: Friday, February 28, 2003, 2:12 [IST]
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Johannesburg: For Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis and paceman Wasim Akram, there is no greater desire than to beat India when the two archrivals face off in the high- voltage World Cup match in Centurion on Saturday. Waqar and Wasim, both of whom have made it clear that this will be their last World Cup, said they would spare no effort in the eagerly awaited encounter. Pakistan has put up an uninspired performance in the World Cup so far.

It has won only against minnows Holland and Namibia, but has been beaten comprehensively by Australia and England. "We want to win the match against India badly. We have not done well in this World Cup so far. But I know we are yet to play to our true potential and I hope everything falls into place against India," Waqar said. "It is a very important match for us. As it is we can't afford to lose any game now in this World Cup. But obviously playing against India just adds to the pressure and excitement. "We are playing against each other after nearly three years and all eyes on this match, not only in Pakistan but probably the whole world.

I would think it would be the showpiece match of this World Cup and I am confident that we will not disappoint the Pakistan nation," Waqar told a Pakistani daily. Wasim, who has been around for 18 years, is no stranger to the pressure that surrounds India-Pakistan matches. "The hype was similar in the 1999 World Cup. The organisers went crazy with the security for that match. But on the day of the match itself nothing untoward happened and the better team won on that day," Wasim, who became the first bowler to claim 500 One-day wickets on Tuesday, said.

"I think even on Saturday in this World Cup the better team will win and people are mature enough to accept that." However, he conceded that he was also feeling the pressure. "Yes I know it is very special for many people. And we are all praying that we should be able to give our best on that day. India has a very strong batting line-up and they have found some degree of form.

"But if we play totally to our potential then we can beat them. As it is we have held the psychological edge over them in the overall number of matches played between us," he said. Wasim said he had no personal animosity with any Indian player and said he did not expect any extra tension on the field. He said he personally didn't know many of the Indian players as they were a young side.

"I know Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly fairly well. Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra have called me up a couple of times to seek some advice as we all belong to the same fast bowlers club. I have given them some tips. But that is all." He said he would not be targeting any specific Indian batsman. "Ideally I would like to get all their top players," Wasim said.

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