Canada vs Pakistan: Time for the cornered tigers to roar

Published: March 3, 2011

Pakistan cricketers play football during a training session. PHOTO: AFP

Is there any other team in the cricket world that can approach a World Cup with the sort of swagger that Pakistan has after going through all that they did in the previous year?

No, not by a long shot.

Pakistan have been hit by a spot-fixing scandal. They have lost three first team players including one of the most feared fast-bowling partnerships in the world. One of their wicketkeepers not only fled the team, but took off from the country altogether citing death threats and match-fixing propositions as his reasons. Then there was the captaincy issue which remained unresolved until just weeks before the World Cup began.

Had it been any other team, they would have had a tough time handling even one of these tribulations right before the World Cup. However, Pakistan have taken things in a stride. The confidence and statements flowing in from the Pakistani camp have also been very encouraging.

Team captain Shahid Afridi has already stated his intent by saying Pakistan should reach the semi finals and that ours is the most “dangerous team”. And who would even bother arguing with the latter claim? Pakistan probably has the most number of players who can single-handedly change a game in the blink of an eye. Afridi, Razzaq, Umer Akmal, Umer Gul, among many others, are just some of the players who can catch the other teams completely off-guard.

Now, Pakistan need to somehow get through the group stages, something they have not managed to do in the last two attempts. They took a giant leap towards that with their comprehensive victory against Kenya on Wednesday.

Then an even greater one with their win against hosts Sri Lanka on Saturday.

In today’s match against Canada, Pakistan should stamp their authority.

Canada are a fairly inexperienced side and this match is a good opportunity for the Pakistan team management to experiment with the paying 11. Abdul Razzaq should be utilised better than he has been in the previous matches, so his position can be established when we play stronger teams like New Zealand and Australia.

What’s left to be seen now is whether the cornered tigers will roar again. But one thing’s for certain: Pakistani fans everywhere can confidently shout out “no one in the corner has a swagger like us”.

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Shaukat Hamdani

Broadcast journalist with an interest in sports, travel, history and culture. He tweets @Shaukii

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.