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Monday, March 28, 2011

World Cup win will usher new era in Pakistan cricket: Intikhab

Pakistani cricket manager Intikhab Alam feels winning the World Cup could usher in a new era in his country's cricket.
Intikhab said Pakistan cricket had gone through one of its worst phases in the last couple of years and now they are looking ahead to restoring their pride and glory.
The Lahore terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 left them ostracized by the international cricket community and they were also dropped as co-hosts of the World Cup. Last year's spot-fixing scandal during the England tour involving three cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - did not help matters either. The trio were then banned for 10, seven and five years respectively.
'It is no time to look back, though we can take inspiration from the good deeds of the past. We have gone through one of the worst periods in Pakistan's cricket history and we are trying to erase the dark chapter,' Intikhab told IANS from Mohali.
'The team is focussed on winning the World Cup and it will be the start of a new era in Pakistani cricket,' said Intikhab, who was the
coach-cum-manager of the 1992 World Cup winning Pakistan team. He was also the manager of the team that won the World Twenty20 in 2009.
Intikhab, however, was happy that there are three sub-continental teams -India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - in the semifinals.
'It is a great moment for Asian cricket. Before the World Cup there was a lot of talk about Australia, England and South Africa making the semi-finals, but the sub-continental teams have proved it wrong. I always believed that Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka would make the semifinals and will be happy to see an Asian team winning the World Cup,' said the former Pakistan captain.
Intikhab reiterated his unhappiness with the media hype surrounding the Wednesday's India-Pakistan semifinal and pleaded not to make it look like a war.
'This is just a simple game of cricket, we have to treat it like that, not war. There will be lot of emotions, but we must control them and stay calm,' said Intikhab.
Intikhab, who fondly remembers the two years he spent here from 2004-06 coaching the Punjab Ranji Trophy squad, wants people to remember that only one team can win and the other team will have to accept defeat gracefully.
The 69-year-old Hoshiarpur-born said less media hype will help both the teams prepare better and in less tension for the crucial tie.
'It is an important match for both the teams and we must allow them to prepare in proper cricket atmosphere. It is my request to all not to put needless pressure on the players,' he said.
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