Pakistan can`t be written off in World Cup

Cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja on Thursday said Pakistan may not go into the World Cup 2011 as one of the favourites but the other teams cannot afford to write them off.

"Pakistan has a fairly settled and a very good one-day side. They know the art of playing one-day cricket. They have struggled in Test cricket because some of the players simply don`t have the temperament to graft out long innings but the 50-overs cricket format suits them," he said.

"I don`t think Pakistan can be ruled out of title contention. There will be less pressure on them and for our players 50-over cricket is a pretty natural format as they are natural hitters of the ball. And with the World Cup being played on sub-continental pitches I think the conditions will suit them," the former captain said.

Raja also observed that sub-continent wickets would suit the spinners and Pakistan had plenty of them in the side.

"I think they have done a good job to pick two specialist spinners in the squad in Abdul Rehman and Saeed Ajmal who are in form and bowling well. And I think both of them can also played on the sub-continental pitches," he said.

Raja said the team would also be depending heavily on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq.

"They could be nearing the end of their careers but they remain heavyweights and the team would be depending heavily on them in this World Cup and if manage to fire things will be easier for Pakistan.

"With Shoaib you can`t rule out another strong comeback for him. And I think both of them know this is their last World Cup and final shot at glory in this tournament."

He also advised Pakistan cricket fans to stop hoping for a comeback by any of the suspended players -- Salman Butt, Muhammad Aamir and Muhammad Asif -- in the World Cup.

"To me the case against them is an open and shut one and I think the writing is on the wall. The synchronization between what Mazhar Majeed says and what is happening on the field is damaging," he said.

The ICC anti-corruption tribunal is due to announce its verdict on the charges of spot-fixing against the suspended trio on February 5.