WC 2003 - Sachin in his current form can win WC for India: Imran

Published: Monday, March 3, 2003, 2:32 [IST]
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New Delhi: Impressed by the merciless attack by Sachin Tendulkar on Pakistan's bowlers, former Pakistani skipper Imran Khan on Sunday said the batting maestro can win the World Cup for his team if he kept up his current form."If Sachin keeps up this form, he can bring India the World Cup," Imran told 'Star News'. Tendulkar hit a blistering 98 in the high-voltage World Cup encounter against Pakistan at Centurion in South Africa on Saturday. India won the match by six wickets."India's batting completely overwhelmed the Pakistani bowling," the cricketer-turned-politician said. "It turned out to be an easy win in the end. I would have thought a total of over 270 would have been enough (forPakistan)," he said.Imran said Tendulkar's innings was the "difference" between the two teams. "He attacked Pakistan's strength - Wasim (Akram) and Shoaib (Akhtar) - and after that Pakistan fell apart. They did not have anyone to fall back upon."Sachin was very positive. He went on the attack and thus made it easy for the rest of the batsmen." Imran, who captained Pakistan to their only World Cup triumph in 1992, said India would need the services of Tendulkar when they face teams like Australia in the later stages of the competition."When you come up against the big boys, you will need him," Imran said adding the role of Rahul Dravid should not be underestimated. "Rahul Dravid plays a pivotal role; he occupies the crease. You need that combination which worked on Saturday," Imran said. Asked whether he rated Tendulkar as the best batsman in recent years, Imran replied in the negative. "I think Vivian Richards was a genius, but in the next crop of batsmen which includes the likes of Zaheer Abbas, Ian and Greg Chappell and Majid Khan - Sachin is definitely there.""But Sachin will end up breaking all records because he is so young. He will mature mentally all the time and learn to handle pressure," he said. Tendulkar on Saturday became the first batsman to score more than 12,000 runs in One-day Internationals."The hallmark of a great player is that when you need him, he delivers," Imran said. Though he felt Australia was the best team in the WorldCup as they did not get "flustered" easily, Khan said, "In One-day cricket, a single individual can change the course of the game."Asked what he thought of the Indian pace bowling trio of Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, he said, "This is the best Indian attack I have seen. The only problem is that Srinath will not be there for long."Commenting on Pakistan's poor run in the World Cup, Imran said they were approaching their games "defensively". He said the big gap between the standards of domestic and international cricket in India and Pakistan was hampering the game in the two countries. PTI

Sachin's intimidation of Pak bowlers was heady stuff!

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