Aussies are not favourite in Champions: Akhtar

Published: Thursday, September 28, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar believes that world champions Australia will face a stiff test in next month's Champions Trophy in India.

Australia won the recent tri-series in Malaysia, beating West Indies in the final, but Akhtar told reporters today that they are beatable.

''I don't think any team is a favourite in the Champions Trophy.

Any team can win it,'' he said.

''Teams which have more experience of playing in the sub-continent stand a better chance of doing well in the tournament.

''Australia have an excellent record and their morale will be high after beating India and West Indies in Malaysia. But in the sub-continent, pitches are different and they can be beaten.'' The Champions Trophy begins in India from October 7 with a four-team qualifying round while the main rounds to be contested by the top eight teams in the world start nine days later.

Akhtar, who returned to the Pakistan team in the recent One-day series in England after a six-month lay-off due to injury, said he was looking forward to playing in the event as Pakistan stood a good chance.

The taker of more than 200 wickets in both tests and One-day internationals, Akhtar was out of action since February this year, first with a knee injury and than an stress fracture to his ankle.

He missed the final One-dayer in England due to a sore knee.

''It was not a serious one and I am completely fit now and the Champions Trophy is as good a platform you can get to perform to your best,'' he added.

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