The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Waqar’s wounded tigers ready for kill’

Johannesburg: Allrounder Shahid Afridi on Tuesday sent out a warning to rival World Cup teams saying Pakistan was like a wounded tiger and would strike back with vengeance.

“Imran Khan’s ‘cornered tigers’ did the trick in the 1992 World Cup and Waqar Younis’ ‘wounded tigers’ will hopefully do this time,” said the flamboyant Afridi whose attacking brand of cricket has fetched him a one-day record of 3,871 runs and 127 wickets, besides 63 catches from 173 matches.

“We have lost three one-day tournaments in a row, two out of three Test series and it’s too much. It’s not something we are used to as it is not the way we like to play our cricket,” Afridi was quoted in the Daily Times.

Since last August, Pakistan finished last in the tri-nation Cup in Morocco; were flayed by hosts Sri Lanka in the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy and then swamped 1-4 by South Africa. The only consolation was a 5-0 scoreline recorded against Zimbabwe in an away series in November.

In Tests, they were blanked 0-3 and 0-2 in consecutive series to Australia and South Africa since last October. “The boys know this and that’s precisely why they all are motivated and geared up to make amends and promise to do something exceptional in the tournament,” he said.

“History shows that we, as a nation, are not accustomed to series of losses. It has to change and ‘Inshallah’ it will be in the World Cup. We know that 140 million back home and billions in other parts of the world would be praying for our success. It would be the combination of their prayers and our hard work that would produce results.”

Despite their recent poor form, Pakistan have been billed as one of the most dangerous sides by the pundits of the game. “Trust me if we reach the semi-final, we will play the final. When we are in momentum, we are difficult to stop. At full potential and flow, I think we are a better team than Australia. Australia or South Africa look formidable because they are winning and we are looking vulnerable because we are losing. That’s what winning or losing does to the reputation of the team,” he added.

“In Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar we have probably the most destructive bowling attack with Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdul Razzaq to follow. If I am not wrong, they share almost 1500 wickets between them and I think that’s plenty.

“In batting, there is Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana and Younis Khan who share nearly 25,000 runs between them. There is variety in the team and plenty of options for the skipper and coach. We just need to combine all the performances to produce the best team performance of our careers.”

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