Inzamam bats for current ODI World Cup format

Pakistan’s chief selector says the current format where the 10 teams play each other once, with the top four advancing to the knockout stages, will provide a level playing field.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s chief selector, said the format gives a fair chance to all teams to show their worth and make a comeback even after a bad start to the tournament.   -  K. R. Deepak

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq feels the “single group of 10 teams” format of the upcoming One-Day International World Cup will be beneficial for all competing nations, especially an “inconsistent” side like Pakistan.

According to the format of the mega event to be held in England, there is a single group of 10 teams where each plays the other nine once, with the top four teams progressing to the knockout stages.

Inzamam, Pakistan’s chief selector, said the format gives a fair chance to all teams to show their worth and make a comeback even after a bad start to the tournament.

“I totally support this format because all other playing formats tried by the ICC (International Cricket Council) have not been very successful. I remember in the 2007 World Cup we had one bad day against Ireland and we had to exit the event in the West Indies,” Inzamam said on Saturday.

“In the single group format where each team plays against the other, it gives a chance to the established outfits to make a comeback if they falter in the early games. I think this format will suit Pakistan a lot because of our tendency to be inconsistent.”

Inzamam was just making his mark in the Pakistan team when it won the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand which was held on a single group format.

And in the ill-fated 2007 World Cup, Inzamam was the captain and broke down into tears after Pakistan’s early exit following the loss to Ireland.

The former captain and veteran of 120 Tests further said he is very optimistic about Pakistan’s chances in the World Cup, which begins from May 31.

“We have a good blend of players and if our batting struggles a bit we have the bowling attack to back them at all times,” Inzamam said.

He also feels that there will be no room for complacency for any team in the game’s showpiece event.

“You can’t take Afghanistan lightly and you have to be as charged up as you would be against say Australia,” Inzamam said.

Inzamam also defended the team management’s decision to rest regular skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and five other regular players for the upcoming ODI series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates.

“We are looking to fill in a batting spot. We want someone in the No. 5 and 6 positions who can push the scoring rate. But the fact is we just feel Sarfaraz needed proper rest before the World Cup and he remains our captain for the World Cup,” he said.

“Similarly the other players who have been rested have performed for us for a while now and we have no intentions to just drop them like that for the mega event.”

Asked about his decision to select his nephew Imam-ul-Haq in the team for the Australia series, Inzamam said, “He is my nephew, but he is also a good batsman and he is proving himself now in international cricket. But there was never any favouritism or nepotism involved in my mind when the selectors picked him.”

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