Pakistan's limited overs captain Shahid Afridi has said in an indirect way, that his side is no condition to win the World Cup next year. He pointed to his poor assessment of his team's preparations which has in turn been severely hindered by the spot-fixing allegations that has cost the team a number of players.
"I am not 100 per cent satisfied with the team's preparations for the World Cup," Afridi told AFP. "We've had problems on every tour, and although there aren't high expectations, as captain I'm positive and will keep on motivating the team."
His articulated uncertainty about his teams chances in the biggest campaign of all, comes a day after the team manager Intikhab Alam said that Pakistan was capable of winning the World Cup. Alam had said that the fact the Pakistan had lost the hosting rights of the tournament would motivate the players to bring home the trophy.
In September Pakistan lost its star trio of opening batsman Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir after they got mired in a spot-fixing scandal. They were subsequently placed under provisional suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) which disallows them from participating in any international cricket. Subsequently, even their central contracts were revoked by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Now, the tainted players have to wait till Jan 6th when a tribunal will decide on their culpability.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and former captain Shoaib Malik have been left out of the Test and Twenty20 squads all set to leave for the tour of New Zealand. Their absence will undoubtedly hurt Pakistan's performance in the upcoming series.
Afridi expressed frustration at their exclusion. "Both are good players and have been doing well in domestic matches." Kamran and Malik have also articulated their disappointment at not being picked for the New Zealand tour.
Pakistan has until Dec19 to come up with a provisional 30-man World Cup squad, which would need to be trimmed down to 15 in a month's time. Pakistan is placed in Group A of the 14-team competition along with defending champions Australia, Canada, Kenya, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.