Pakistan and Kenya seeking chance to restore Cup pride
Pakistan, bruised by a corruption scandal and security issues which still deprive their fans of international cricket at home, launch their World Cup campaign on Wednesday against Kenyans with several problems of their own.india Updated: Feb 23, 2011 10:25 IST
Pakistan, bruised by a corruption scandal and security issues which still deprive their fans of international cricket at home, launch their World Cup campaign on Wednesday against Kenyans with several problems of their own.
Shahid Afridi's men should have far too much firepower for the Africans who have had just three days to recover -- mentally more than anything else -- from a humiliating 10-wicket thrashing by New Zealand in their opening Group A match on Sunday.
Pakistan, the 1992 champions and runners-up to Australia seven years later, will miss Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir who were banned for organising deliberate no balls (spot fixing) in a test in England last August.
But the latter pair would have had their work cut out to thrive in any case in thankless conditions for quick bowlers in the sub-continent and Pakistan are hardly short of batsmen like Butt who can score quickly.
Pakistan's form leading up to the tournament has been somewhat mixed, recently seeing off New Zealand in a ODI series but losing badly to England in their final warm-up on Friday.
That latter defeat, however, was not a particularly good guide of their form since Afridi and a handful of others who could well play on Wednesday were rested.
Pakistan have an extra point to prove after crashing out at the first stage in 2007 following a shock defeat to Ireland in a tournament which will be remembered by many for the untimely death of their English coach, Bob Woolmer.
Kenya, meanwhile, will be initially looking to restore some respect after their inept display with the bat on Sunday when they were all out for 69.
Their luck on Tuesday did not look like it had turned just yet. Captain Jimmy Kamande was struck on the face during practice, his cheek swelled up and he was rendered temporarily mute by his injury.
Team officials said later that Kamande should be fit to play against Pakistan, hopefully for them with full conversational powers restored in Hambantota.