Quarterfinal results of 2011 World Cup “really difficult to predict”: Inzamam

March 23rd, 2011 - 1:54 pm ICT by ANI  

Karachi, Mar 23(ANI): Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq reckons that the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals will be a keenly contested and unpredictable affair.

“You look at the quarterfinalists and, on a given day, anyone is capable of giving a match-winning performance. So it is really difficult to predict right now who will make the semi-finals,” The Nation quoted Inzamam, as saying.

“I say this even though South Africa play New Zealand and Pakistan meet the West Indies in the last-eight stage,” he added.

Inzamam pointed out that the group matches had shown that any team could be beaten on a particular day, and stressed on the importance of keeping nerves under pressure.

“Once you reach the knockout stage of a World Cup, the team that holds its nerves wins. How well a team executes its plans is important, but I think keeping nerves under pressure is far more important in the knockout stage,” he said.

The former great also praised the Pakistan team management for lifting the morale of the players after their defeat against New Zealand.

“I think Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis did a wonderful job after the defeat to New Zealand. And believe me, it is never easy to lift the players’ morale after such a heavy defeat,” he noted.

“But I always believed that the situation was not as desperate for Pakistan as it was being made out to be, and thankfully, by beating Zimbabwe and Australia, they have proved that,” he added.

Inzamam also backed the management’s decision to drop young opener Ahmed Shahzad after he failed in five matches.

“One glaring weakness that has been hurting Pakistan, is the poor show put up by the openers so far. Young Ahmed Shahzad has clearly not come to terms with the pressure of playing in such a huge tournament.” he said, adding, The management did well by trying out a new pair in Kamran Akmal and Hafeez.”

Inzamam also agreed with the management’s decision to continue with Kamran despite his poor show against New Zealand, saying that wicket keeping was a specialist job.

“The management must stick to Kamran and give him full support as he remains a crucial player,” said the former skipper.

About Pakistan’s bowling attack, Inzamam stated: “Afridi has been the only wicket-taker for the team, and thankfully now, Umar Gul is also back to his best but I still feel we need more wicket-taking bowlers like Saeed in the side for the knockout matches.”

“Abdur Rehman does a decent job containing batsmen, but he is not as potent as Ajmal,” he added. (ANI)

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