Pakistan missed Afridi, Razzaq: Inzamam

March 16, 2007

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KINGSTON (Jamaica), March 15: Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said on Wednesday the team missed all-rounders Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq in their crucial World Cup opener against the West Indies on Tuesday.

“They (Afridi and Razzaq) would have been ideal in the situation like that developed in the match against the West Indies,” Inzamam said here.

Pakistan went down by 54 runs here at the Sabina Park, giving the West Indies a confident start in the 16-team competition.

Pakistan suffered a huge blow against the Caribbean team at the Sabina Park, losing three quick wickets – that of Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam and Kamran Akmal – in space of 11 balls to Dwayne Smith, tilting the match in home team's favour as the visitors slumped to 116-6.

“Afridi and Razzaq could have handled the situation better,” the captain pointed out.

Mercurial Afridi is serving a four-match ODI ban imposed on him by the International Cricket Council for an incident in South Africa involving a spectator. A dynamite-like Afridi, however, is set to return to the Pakistan squad for their final group encounter against Zimbabwe on March 21.

“Afridi's return would benefit the team because he is a strong hitter, good leg-spinner and a fine fielder,” Inzamam noted.

Razzaq was withdrawn from just a couple of days before the team's departure to the West Indies. Throughout his career Razzaq has batted on almost all the positions in ODIs, proving his ability in stabilising the top order besides maintaining his typical attacking batting at the lower position when required.

“It was a blow for us when Razzaq was ruled out (of the World Cup) due to injury,” Inzamam stressed.

Pakistan would have different plans against debutant minnows Ireland. Because of their inexperience Ireland would be under no pressure while Pakistan have to produce their best against them to carve out their first win.

Besides Ireland, in Group D, Bermuda is the other team featuring for the first time in the cricket World Cup. —APP