Waqar says 1992 World Cup parallels are ‘freaky’

Pakistan's trajectory through the tournament has so far mirrored that of its only World Cup triumph to date, when it started slowly in 1992 before picking up pace to lift the trophy.

Will history repeat again for Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup?   -  REUTERS

Former captain Waqar Younis says it is becoming “impossible to ignore” the parallels between Pakistan’s World Cup resurgence and its 1992 triumph.

Victories against South Africa and New Zealand in the past week have breathed new life into Pakistan’s bid to reach the semifinals in England and Wales after it won just one of its opening five fixtures.

Its trajectory through the tournament has so far mirrored that of its only World Cup triumph to date, when it started slowly in 1992 before picking up pace to lift the trophy.

READ | World Cup semifinals qualification: Pakistan hands NZ first loss, keeps knockout hopes alive

“It is becoming impossible to ignore the parallels with 1992,” said Waqar in a column for the International Cricket Council.

“The similarities are freaky and even though the players won’t have been thinking about it, there is no way they can put it out of their minds altogether.”

Pakistan’s chances of reaching the last four have been helped by England’s defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia.

The host now need to win both its remaining games against India and New Zealand to hold off Pakistan, should Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men beat Afghanistan and Bangladesh in its final two matches.

“It’s moving in the direction that they might qualify and, if it does, that would be something very special if they could win the World Cup,” said Waqar.

The prolific fast bowler was robbed of his role in the tournament 27 years ago due to a back injury.

But he is hoping for a repeat of the scenes of joy witnessed when the team returned victorious to Pakistan, for a nation that has seen little international cricket since Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked in 2009.

“It was heartbreaking, especially when we won,” said Waqar, of missing the 1992 World Cup.

“I was over the moon though and I still remember every second when the team came back from Australia. It was wonderful. I’m hoping and praying that something similar happens again.”