Waqar Younis hopeful of Pakistan's chances in World Cup

Pakistan's head coach, Waqar Younis said he has moved on from the 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat to India and was hopeful that his team will go all the way in the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

AFP| Updated: Sep 21, 2014, 00:12 AM IST
Waqar Younis hopeful of Pakistan's chances in World Cup
Misbah-ul-Haq

Karachi: Pakistan's head coach, Waqar Younis said he has moved on from the 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat to India and was hopeful that his team will go all the way in the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"Obviously there is that regret over losing that semi-final. You think about the mistakes you made or what should have been done differently. But modern day cricket is such you move on and think ahead," he told reporters here today.

Waqar, 42, who has been involved in four World Cups in 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2011 as player or coach said that cricket had changed so much since he played that one needed to move on for the next match.

"Cricket has changed tremendously since I played. The laws have changed and modern day cricket is very different. We also need to embrace these changes to move ahead," he said.

The former Pakistan captain said that the World Cup was a big tournament because of the expectations from all teams.

"I think we have a good team and we are working on settling on a combination for the World Cup. In Saeed Ajmal's absence, Shahid Afridi and Muhammad Hafeez have to take more responsibility as bowlers. At the same time I think captain Misbah-ul-Haq and some of the others also need to tweek their game a bit now in ODIs."

He pointed out that in modern day cricket teams needed to target scores in excess of 300 in ODIs with the changed rules.

"For that we need to change our mindset and be more passionate and our players need to be more aggressive. I am working on changing the mindset of our players but even I don't have a magic wand and the team will continue to make mistakes. It is fine as long as we learn from them," he said.

On Ajmal's suspension from bowling in international cricket, Waqar said he was already looking for a younger replacement who could serve Pakistan cricket for a while.

"But my vision is that we need to have younger players after every four to five years. That is what modern day cricket demands from you. It is also demands that the players and the support staff are on one page in whatever they do," he added. 

Waqar, 42, took 373 Test and 416 one-day wickets in an career that spanned from 1989 to 2003.

Waqar, who served as the head coach in 2010 and 2011 before resigning for personal reasons, has been appointed on a two-year term by the Pakistan cricket Board but in his first series as head coach last month, Pakistan were beaten soundly by Sri Lanka at home.

He admitted it was a poor series for Pakistan. "I think it was our approach that killed us. But now we have to good series against Australia and New Zealand lined up and I think we can use them to prepare well for the World Cup. Cover all our bases," he said.

"At the end of the day I want to see Pakistan cricket do well. I have sacrificed finances to take up this job. But then there is no greater satisfaction than watching Pakistan do well," he said.

Waqar said despite the many problems Pakistan cricket had faced in recent times he was very hopeful the team could play in the World Cup 2015 final.

"It is a huge tournament in terms of expectations but it is also all about gaining momentum at the right time and a little bit of luck as well."

"We have to two very good series against Australia and New Zealand before the tournament and that will allow us to finalize our combination for the World Cup. We need to finalize things keeping in mind conditions in Australia and New Zealand. I am looking at a combination of a group of young players and a core of stalwarts."

He said at the end of the day changes have to come in Pakistan cricket. "By changes I mean we need to start being more productive and positive. The media and people need to support us a lot. It is very easy to criticize but I would like to see critics and former players giving solutions if we are making mistakes."

He also talked about his past days as a player and said as a fast bowler he had many happy memories none better than beating India. "Among my best moments is when I got the wickets of greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara or Ricky Ponting. In those days it was not easy because every team had one or two world class players at times more."