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Waqar eyes redemption for Pakistan at World Cup

cricket Updated: Feb 10, 2011 20:40 IST

PTI
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Coach Waqar Younis sees the upcoming World Cup as crucial for the redemption of Pakistan's image in the cricket world and for the restoration of international matches in the country.

"It is not just about winning the World Cup, it is also about the effects that our performances will have on convincing teams to tour Pakistan again and repairing our image in the cricket world," Waqar told a press conference on Thursday.

The former Pakistan captain said it had been a painful period for him in the last two years to first see international teams refusing to tour Pakistan and then the battering the image of Pakistan cricket had taken due to the spot-fixing scandal.

"I think if we can do well in this World Cup it will go a long way in allowing us to tell the world that as a cricket nation we remain strong and in increasing our value in world cricket," he said.

Waqar felt the team deserved a lot of credit for producing some fine performances since last year despite the controversies created by the spot-fixing scandal.

"There has been a lot of pressure on everyone and I am proud the way Afridi has led the side and the players have responded. I honestly believe this team can win the World Cup. We have the momentum going and it is just a matter of clicking at the right time," he added.

The coach said over the last few months the team had developed into a united outfit and was strong in the batting and bowling departments.

"The only area of concern for me is the fielding although even there we have seen improvement in New Zealand."

He said the team was an ideal blend of youth and experience and capable of beating any side. He also defended Afridi, who was reminded that under his captaincy whenever he won the toss and took a decision, majority of them backfired.

"Let me say here first that the toss does not decide a match, it is how well you take advantage of the toss is what matters."

Afridi said it would be difficult to predict the outcome in the World Cup and winning the toss and taking a decision was not done singularly but involved the team management.

"It has been my endeavour to take everyone on board including the senior players. Sometimes the decisions might have backfired but generally we have done well. We are going to the World Cup in a confident state of mind and strong hearts and I believe we can reach the semi finals," he said.

The Pakistan skipper also hit out at former test players, who had criticised his performance and captaincy recently.

"I would just advise them to do their homework first and find out who was Pakistan's leading run-scorer and wicket taker in one-dayers last year. They will know the real situation then," he said.