India among the favourites, tough going for Pak: Abbas

Published: Sunday, March 4, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Former Pakistan skipper Zaheer Abbas feels that India are among the favourites to lift the World Cup but his own country's chances in the absence of three star players does not look very bright.

Apart from India, according to him, the other strong title contenders are Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

''Pakistan are bound to feel the absence of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Abdul Razzaq who are injured, ''Abbas told the Gulf News and added that most of the team members were unfit despite the PCB providing coach Bob Woolmer with all the assistance to mould a physically-fit team.

To add to the team's woes, Woolmer, Abbas said, has been a big disappointment.

''Woolmer has been carrying along his own physiotherapist, trainer and dietician, but most of the players are unfit.

The team's fielding is as poor as it used to be in the past. This is not what was expected of him,'' said the legendary batsman who was known as the Bradman of Asia.

''The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given Woolmer excellent marks as a coach, but the people in Pakistan are not happy with his performance.

''Being a Pakistani, I want Pakistan to do well in the World Cup.

But to be frank, Pakistan will find it tough without their main players,'' he said.

About Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif's alleged involvment in dope scandal, Abbas said, ''Both these bowlers have failed the drug test because of their lack of knowledge. They would not have taken those drugs had they known about their dangerous effects on their health and career.''

Asked whether the pace duo were dropped because of the fear of being caught in a dope test again, he said, ''Looks like there could be some truth in what people are saying. I feel both are unfit.''

He had a piece of advice for skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, saying ''Inzy will do well if he bats up the order. He should not send youngsters up the order and hide himself at No. six. He should bat against the fast bowlers when the ball's shine is on. Being a captain, he should lead from the front.''


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