Well, whatever one might presume, at least this happens to be one of the most honest assessments of a participating team, coming out straight from none other than the coach himself. Yes, you have got it correctly, the coach of Pakistan cricket team has categorically admitted that Pakistan is not among the favorites for lifting the next World Cup like Australia and India.
Pakistan have just completed a short training camp for the upcoming World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand. Pakistan is scheduled to play two one-day internationals against New Zealand on January 31 and February 3, before starting their World Cup campaign against arch-rivals India in Adelaide on February 15.
He said, “I am happy that we are not the favourites, to be very honest because it is a big pressure, being the favourites. We were not the favourites last time either but we played excellent cricket and reached the semi-finals.”
Incidentally, Waqar was the head coach for Pakistan cricket team during the 2011 World Cup which lost to India in the semi-finals.
Waqar said, “Of course, teams which play on those bouncy wickets like Australia and South Africa are probably more the favourites than us. But… I have lots of hopes.”
Waqar also admitted Pakistan had suffered injury problems as frontline paceman Junaid Khan injured his leg during practice on Thursday, but an MRI test has revealed he will be fit within a week. He explained, “We had problems with our fast bowlers for few months and, of course, the recent episode with Junaid — it’s a setback. If you have injuries you can’t move forward.”
Recollecting his past associations with the event when he was also captain of the team which crashed out in the first round in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, he remembered, “The World Cup has never been that kind to me, there’s no doubt about that.”
Waqar said he has hope for strong play from captain Misbah-ul-Haq, a batsman who will retire after the World Cup. He hoped before signing off and said, “Of course Afridi is number one, we have big hopes for him and Misbah, they are going out after the World Cup. In the camp over the last four to five days I have seen both want to finish on a high, which is a very good sign.”