The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Format played a big role, says Latif

Islamabad: Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif has admitted that his team’s inability to perform in crunch matches led to its early exit from the World Cup, but said the format applied in the league stage had a lot to do with the ouster.

“Pakistan and England did not play well in the crunch matches. But still the format did not help us at all,” Latif told a Pakistani daily.

He said that due to the absence of reserve days in the event a match was rained off, many teams had got the “short end of the stick”.

“Tell me, does Kenya deserve to be in the Super Sixes at the cost of South Africa'” Latif asked.

Pakistan’s slender hope of making it to the Super Sixes was washed out on Tuesday when rain forced the abandonment of their last group A league match against Zimbabwe. The teams split points and the African team went through to the next stage.

“The match was so crucial but because of bad weather, we did not get a chance to redeem ourselves and come back in the tournament. I think the format applied in the 1992 World Cup was best. You got a chance to play against all other teams. And the best team always had the chance to come back even if its form was not good in the early stages,” Latif told The News.

Pakistan, who had managed to make it to the semi-finals of that World Cup by the skin of its teeth, went on to win it.

“In the present format, what has happened is that due to points being forfeited and due to no reserve days for the rain, teams were faced with plenty of bad luck and were not able to make amends for poor performances,” Latif said.

However, Latif was hopeful that his team would put the debacle behind them and return to their winning ways.

“I know we have disappointed and let down a lot of people. Lot of things went wrong for us. But I still sincerely believe that we remain a top team and will be back to winning ways soon.

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