~~Only Pakistan can stop Aussies from lifting WC~~

Published: Sunday, February 4, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistan may be inconsistent and still have miles to go before being the best but if former captain Wasim Akram is to be believed then Inzamam-ul Haq's men are the only ones who can present any real challenge to defending champions Australia in the upcoming World Cup in West Indies.

Akram said of all the sides, conditions in the Caribbean will suit the Pakistanis the most and if the 1992 champions improve their fielding then they will become the biggest threat to the Aussies, who are firm favourites to lift a third successive title.

''Australia look favourite to win the World Cup in the West Indies. Australia have been winning so continuously it is becoming rather boring. However, if any team can beat Aussies in the Caribbean, it must be Pakistanis,'' Akram was quoted as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan. ''Wickets in the West Indies will be low, slow and dry and this type of pitch suits the Pakistanis,'' he explained.

Akram said the biggest concern for Pakistan should be their fielding which sometimes allows the opposition to get off the hook.

The former captain called on the team to work hard at the nets to come at par with teams like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

''Fielding will be an essential ingredient for winning this world title and fielding is something which can be improved by working very, very hard in this department,'' he said.

The pace legend said Shoaib Akhtar's performance and fitness would be crucial to Pakistan's cup chances and advised the team management to handle the speedster with care.


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