The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Latif lauds Indian spirit

Johannesburg: New Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has tipped India to win the World Cup, saying they thoroughly deserve it for the way they came back after an indifferent start.

“The general perception is that Australia deserve to win the final. But one cannot forget the way India have fought back after their dismal performance against the Aussies in Centurion five weeks ago.

“Their transformation has been remarkable. I think the Indians deserve to win the World Cup,” Latif wrote in the ICC’s official website. “Not too many teams have the ability to come back from such a situation.”

Latif was all praise for Sourav Ganguly. “The remarkable comeback was made possible thanks to the leadership of Sourav on and off the field. Indian fans were really down after the defeat against the Aussies.

“The way Ganguly handled the situation with complete confidence and determination speaks volumes of his faith in his team. The players responded by backing their captain, and they were cool and calm in their approach,” Latif observed.

Latif rated Sachin Tendulkar’s 98 against his team as better than any of his centuries.

“Sachin totally surprised Pakistan with the onslaught against Shoaib Akhtar and the two Ws (Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis). He is on course to be the best player of the tournament and definitely deserves this distinction,” Latif said.

He said the ‘master blaster’ would be the key if India were to be successful against Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Andy Bichel. But Latif felt the other batsmen — Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif and Virender Sehwag — would also have to make big contributions. (PTI)

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