Akram, Akhtar back Pakistan ahead of Champions Trophy
Karachi: Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar believe Pakistan have a realistic chance of winning the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
They said the key to success in English conditions would be a collective effort from the Pakistan team.
"There is talent in the team and there is balance but to win everyone, they will have to contribute on the match day in a big tournament like the Champions Trophy," Akhtar said.
He also felt that Pakistan`s opening match against the West Indies will be the most crucial one for them.
"Winning the first match is very important as the result will either set the momentum for the team or pull their morale down," he said.
The fast bowler said the fact that many of the West Indian players had appeared in the Indian Premier League should not be a concern for Pakistan.
"The West Indians are coming from playing in the IPL but conditions in England are totally different and it will be a different ball game for them in this tournament," he said.
Akhtar felt that while the match against India would be a high-pressure one, beating South Africa would be very important for Pakistan.
"I know we lost to South Africa recently in the series but the South Africans have had a problem winning big events. Just like Bangladesh is still struggling to win Test matches. So in England Pakistan have a good chance of beating South Africa," Akhtar added.
Akram had no doubt that Pakistan has sent a balanced team.
"West Indies is a dangerous side and matches against South Africa and India will be tough but I think our team has all the firepower to deliver and play to expectations," he said.
"Pakistan should also not be worried about the form of Chris Gayle. He is a dangerous player but I think our new ball pace attack of Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan will cause him problems in England and can contain him," Akram said.
"It is a big tournament so every match is crucial. Our team has to play every match positively and with same momentum," he said.
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