2010-10-13 18:27

Captain: Shahid Afridi

Number of World Cup Participations: 9

ODI Ranking (November 2010): 7

Coach: Waqar Younis

World Cup Champions: 1992

Dogged by constant controversy, the Pakistani cricket team continues to provide a rollercoaster ride of emotions for their supporters. In their ranks, they have undoubtedly some of the most talented young cricketers in current competition, with the young seam bowler Mohammed Aamer at the very top of that list. If all goes well for them, they should arrive at the 2011 World Cup with a team that, on its day, can win any competition in style.

Hard hitting batsmen in Umar Akmal and his brother Kamran, and the ever-present threat of 'Boom Boom Afridi' mean that Pakistan are as comfortable chasing down scores as they are posting them. They are relentlessly aggressive, which is simultaneously their strength and weakness, as it can make them prone to collapse, and the batsmen in particular can sometimes lose their heads and play rash and unnecessary shots to get out.

That said, their bowling department is equally unpredictable, with genuine pace and movement from Mohammad Asif, Mohammed Aamer and Umar Gul, coupled with the tricky pace and spin of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal.

Their track record in ODI reflects their volatile nature – huge wins and huge losses. Although they're ranked 7th in the world in ODI standings, they still have a 55% win ratio in this form of the game which is remarkably good, and were T20 World Champions in 2009 against the odds.

Much of their possible success in 2011 depends on the outcome of current ICC investigations into spot-betting fixing and other conduct issues by leading Pakistani cricketers. Leading and experienced players such as Mohammed Yousuf will be key if the side is to function properly. If they bring a full-strength team, they are as likely to win the World Cup as they are to get knocked out in the Group stages without winning a match – imagine what it must be like for their fans!

Mad paceman Shoaib Akhtar celebrates skittling another unfortunate batsman. (AFP)


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