India no favourites to defend World T20 title: Abbas, Akram
Former Pakistan captains Zaheer Abbas and Wasim Akram refused to reckon defending champions India as favourites to retain the World Twenty20 title, saying the Indian players would be too tired to go for a kill after a hectic last season coupled with the IPL grind.cricket Updated: May 24, 2009 19:01 IST
Former Pakistan captains Zaheer Abbas and Wasim Akram on Sunday refused to reckon defending champions India as favourites to retain the World Twenty20 title, saying the Indian players would be too tired to go for a kill after a hectic last season coupled with the IPL grind.
"I think there is no favourite team in such a tournament. Anyone from Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa can win the World Cup," he said.
"If the IPL is good practice for the players ahead of the World Cup the Indians have been playing too much cricket and would be tired by the time the tournament is held," Abbas said.
Wasim also agreed that India could face problems this time because their players were fatigued after a long tough season.
"In such a tournament it is very difficult to maintain a long winning streak and you need to be fresh for the challenge," he added.
The two, however, had different opinions about runners-up Pakistan's chances in the upcoming tournament.
Abbas felt Pakistan had only a distant chance to claim the coveted trophy.
"I would love to see Pakistan win but the fact is that the World Cup is being held in different conditions and it will be very tough," said Abbas, known as black Bradman.
However, Akram tipped Pakistan as favourites to win the final because he felt bowling was their strength and suitable for the English conditions.
"And they have a very good track record in T20 cricket. But more then anything I believe our bowling is strong and ideal for the English conditions and pitches," the former fast bowler said.
"I don't think any other team has so much variety and experience in their bowling line-up," he added.
Pakistan's coach Intikhab Alam also agreed with Akram that Pakistan were among favourites to win the title.
"We will be relying a lot on our spinners. Because in T20 cricket I believe more than the fast bowlers, the bowlers who can mix up their pace and balls are more successful. And we have some very good quality spinners and options available to us," he said.
But Intikhab agreed that Pakistan would face a big challenge in trying to lift their fielding standards in the mega event.
"Fielding is crucial in this form of the game and in the conditioning camp and practice matches we have been laying lot of stress on our fielding drills and also watching videos of other teams," the former Test captain said.