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After T20 win, Pak under increasing pressure

cricket Updated: Jun 26, 2009 18:23 IST
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After having beaten Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup final, Pakistan expects to be under greater pressure when it tours against the same opponents next month.

Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets last Sunday to win its first World Cup title since defeating England in the final of the 50-over format in 1992.

Both president Asif Ali Zardari, who is also patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, and prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani hosted receptions and awarded cash prizes to members of the team. Captain Younis Khan accepts that his players are now facing increased expectations.

"Our countrymen want us to win every match _ especially after success in the Twenty20 World Cup," Khan said Friday. "It can put pressure on us but we are ready for it.

"It's true that we have achieved a big victory, but a tour of Sri Lanka will be a big challenge for us."

Pakistan has been bolstered by the return of middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf and allrounder Abdul Razzaq. Both players have been welcomed back into international cricket after resigning from the unauthorized Indian Cricket League.

Razzaq replaced the injured Yasir Arafat at the Twenty20 World Cup, taking three wickets in the final to play a pivotal role. "Both are experienced players and they will strengthen our side," Khan said.

Pakistan has also recalled Danish Kaneria to its test team. The lanky legspinner will be supported by offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who also played a key role at the Twenty20 World Cup after his bowling action was cleared last month.

The 15-member test squad also includes 17-year-old left-arm paceman Mohammad Aamir, who bowled impressively at the Twenty20 World Cup.

Sri Lanka will be led by Kumar Sangakkara, who took over after Mahela Jayawardene's farewell test in March against Pakistan in Lahore was canceled when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankans' team bus, killing six policemen and a van driver.

"Sangakkara is a wise captain and Sri Lanka is a balanced side with some quality players, so we have to be at our best to get positive results," Khan said.

Pakistan leaves for Sri Lanka on Saturday to play three tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 game. The first test starts July 4 at Galle.

Test squad:

Younis Khan (captain), Salman Butt, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Yousaf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamir, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq, Abdul Rauf, Fawad Alam, Faisal Iqbal.