Waqar wants World Cup jinx broken

Colombo, Feb 14 (AFP) As a player, Waqar Younis hadnothing but bad memories of the World Cup.

Now as a coach, he has the challenge of turning aroundPakistan''s talented yet unpredictable team.

"Well, it''s true that the World Cup hasn''t been too kindto me, but that is motivation and challenge enough to fighton and take another chance as coach of a talented team whichcan win the tournament," Waqar told AFP.

Waqar, now 39, was regarded as one of the most potentfast bowlers in his prime, producing wicket-taking deliverieson any surface, the most notable being his toe-crushingyorker.

Together with compatriot Wasim Akram, one of the bestleft-arm pacemen ever to have played cricket, Waqar formed adestructive new-ball pairing, fondly remembered as "two Ws",wrecking the best of batting line-ups on their day.

Waqar was considered Pakistan''s main weapon in the 1992World Cup in Australia, but a week before the event started hehad to return home in tears without playing a match due toinjury.

"It was a nightmare to return with an injury," remembersWaqar.

"Yes, it does hurt sometimes that I wasn''t part of it butI still remember going to Lahore airport to receive thewinning team when they returned.

"It will always stay with me, the moment they arrived andI always cherish that great triumph of Pakistan.

"I had watched the World Cup at home in Lahore. Everysingle game was fun to watch and as we got into the laterstages of the tournament it got very thrilling and that wasthe time when I missed it the most."

But soon after Pakistan''s win in the World Cup, Waqarrecovered from injury and along with Wasim wreaked havoc inEngland, leading Pakistan to a 2-1 win in a Test series marredby allegations of ball-tampering.

By 1996, Waqar had matured into a world class bowler, buthis World Cup jinx continued.

Pakistan, again title favourites in the event jointlyhosted by them, India and Sri Lanka, crashed out in thequarter-finals.

Up against their arch-rivals India in front of avociferous Bangalore crowd, Waqar ran into free-strokingIndian batsman Ajay Jadeja who clobbered him for 22 runs inone of the death overs. Pakistan lost by 39 runs. MORE (AFP)PM

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