Waqar eye redemption for Pakistan at World Cup

Karachi, Feb 10 (PTI) Coach Waqar Younis sees the upcomingWorld Cup as crucial for the redemption of Pakistan''s image inthe cricket world and for the restoration of internationalmatches in the country.

"It is not just about winning the World Cup, it is alsoabout the effects that our performances will have onconvincing teams to tour Pakistan again and repairing ourimage in the cricket world," Waqar told a press conferencetoday.

The former Pakistan captain said it had been a painfulperiod for him in the last two years to first seeinternational teams refusing to tour Pakistan and then thebattering the image of Pakistan cricket had taken due to thespot-fixing scandal.

"I think if we can do well in this World Cup it will go along way in allowing us to tell the world that as a cricketnation we remain strong and in increasing our value in worldcricket," he said.

Waqar felt the team deserved a lot of credit forproducing some fine performances since last year despite thecontroversies created by the spot-fixing scandal.

"There has been a lot of pressure on everyone and I amproud the way Afridi has led the side and the players haveresponded. I honestly believe this team can win the World Cup.

We have the momentum going and it is just a matter of clickingat the right time," he added.

The coach said over the last few months the team haddeveloped into a united outfit and was strong in the battingand bowling departments.

"The only area of concern for me is the fielding althougheven there we have seen improvement in New Zealand."

He said the team was an ideal blend of youth andexperience and capable of beating any side. He also defendedAfridi, who was reminded that under his captaincy whenever hewon the toss and took a decision, majority of them backfired.

"Let me say here first that the toss does not decide amatch, it is how well you take advantage of the toss is whatmatters."

Afridi said it would be difficult to predict the outcomein the World Cup and winning the toss and taking a decisionwas not done singularly but involved the team management.

"It has been my endeavour to take everyone on boardincluding the senior players. Sometimes the decisions mighthave backfired but generally we have done well. We are goingto the World Cup in a confident state of mind and stronghearts and I believe we can reach the semi finals," he said.

The Pakistan skipper also hit out at former test players,who had criticised his performance and captaincy recently.

"I would just advise them to do their homework first andfind out who was Pakistan''s leading run-scorer and wickettaker in one-dayers last year. They will know the realsituation then," he said. (More) PTI Corr SHN

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