Aaqib defends World Cup strategy

Updated: Mar 18, 2011, 11:42 AM IST

Karachi: Pakistan assistant coach Aaqib Javed has put up a stout defence of the team`s strategy in the ongoing World Cup, questioned by greats Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.

Imran, Wasim and other former Test players believe that Pakistan could land into trouble against stronger opposition in the World Cup as they are playing one bowler short in the competition.

But Aaqib felt it was need of the hour to boost an inconsistent batting line-up.

"No team goes in with five specialist bowlers. What people are forgetting is we`re not playing three specialist bowlers but we have four. Shahid Afridi, despite his all-rounder tag, is a specialist bowler and when we sit down and pick four bowlers, his name is the first we put on the list," he added.

"We then pick an all-rounder, a bowler who can bat and Razzaq comes under that category."

Aaqib, a member of Pakistan`s 1992 World Cup winning squad, also pointed out that all rounder`s role was always very difficult.

Former players have questioned the purpose and use of playing senior all-rounder Abdul Razzaq at the number eight position. They have also questioned Razzak and opener Muhammad Hafeez`s use as the fifth and sixth bowlers.

Imran in particular has been vocal that Pakistan needs to play four specialist bowlers and having Razzaq at number eight was serving no purpose as if the top order couldn`t score then one couldn`t expect the lower order to get the big innings.

But Aaqib said, "An all-rounder’s role is very difficult. You bat at number eight, you bowl four to five overs. Razzaq is a utility player and he`s a type of batsman who can win you matches that you`ve lost by the time he comes in. It won’t happen daily but you need such people in the team. It also adds depth to the bowling."

The seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe was Pakistan`s first successful run-chase in World Cups since their win over New Zealand in the 1999 edition.

Considering the batsmen-heavy playing-eleven, the team`s policy has been to bat first and pile up a big total. However, with dew playing an important role under lights, Aqib confirmed that the spinners are being trained accordingly.

"The pitches are very good and you need these in limited-overs cricket. There`s bounce, spin and seam right from the start. However, in the second innings, dew plays an important role and we`ll be looking out for that.”

"We`re giving a wet ball to the spinners in the nets to train them and that`s the least we can do while training."

Pakistan take on Australia tomorrow in a match that will etermine the final standings of Group A.

PTI