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Sunday, February 13, 2011

WCup win could return cricket to Pakistan: Younis

 Pakistan winning the World Cup would help convince other teams to again play cricket in the country following a deadly attack in 2008, according to coach Waqar Younis.
Pakistan has had to play all of its home series at neutral venues after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus and a vehicle carrying match officials at Lahore almost three years ago, killing several policemen and a driver.
The incident also led to Pakistan being stripped of co-hosting the World Cup, which starts Feb. 19 and will be staged in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
”It’s very important for us because our people want to see international matches,” Younis said. ”I’m sure if we win the World Cup it will open a new chapter in the cricketing world.”
Three Pakistan players were banned for a mininum of five years by the ICC last week on corruption charges, and Younis has praised his team for staying focused to beat New Zealand in test and one-day cricket and only narrowly lose an ODI series to South Africa.
”Despite so many controversies, the team had done well in the last year with series against South Africa and New Zealand,” the coach said.
”Fielding is the very big issue. We have a quite good bowling attack and the batting is gaining maturity,” said Younis, who added that ”even a half-fit (Shoaib) Akhtar will still be a terror.”
Younis has bitter memories of the World Cup, flying home injured before Imran Khan led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 tournament and then captaining a team in 2003 that failed to advance beyond the first round.
”The God has given me another chance,” he said. ”Seriously, this team has the potential to win the World Cup, it just needs to click and gain momentum at the right time.”
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