|Event:||ICC Champions Trophy 2009/10|
DateLine: 17th September 2009
Captain Younus Khan believes Pakistan can build on their World Twenty20 success when they vie for an elusive Champions Trophy title in South Africa.
Pakistan, who have never won or played in the final of the Champions Trophy since its inception in 1998, face a second-string West Indies in their opening Group A match before crucial games against India and Australia.
Younus, who led Pakistan to the World Twenty20 title in England in June, hopes his team can emulate that feat in one-day cricket.
"Our World Twenty20 win has given us confidence and I think we can build on that success in the Champions Trophy. Maybe there is a difference of overs, but the style remains the same and now a team can chase 350-plus," said Younus.
Pakistan have lost their last three one-day series -- the first against Sri Lanka at home which resulted in Younus taking over from Shoaib Malik -- but Younus said the losses have not dampened spirits.
"The way we lost the one-day series in Sri Lanka, losing the first three matches and then winning the last two with big margins proved that we have the capability to win when we play to our potential.
"We will not take the West Indies lightly, and if we win big against them it will help in our matches against India and Australia. I am confident we can qualify for the semis."
Pakistan also lost 3-2 to Australia in their neutral venue series in the United Arab Emirates in April-May.
Pakistan's 15-man squad prepared extensively for the eight-nation Champions Trophy, with a fitness camp in Lahore and another short batting stint with former great Javed Miandad in Karachi.
Younis and veteran Mohammad Yousuf lead a solid batting line-up with Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal to open the innings --- a problem for Pakistan batting for several years now.
The middle-order also have explosive Shahid Afridi, Malik, Misbah-ul Haq and the sensational new find Umar Akmal, younger brother of Kamran.
Afridi was Pakistan's star with both bat and ball in the World Twenty20, winning man-of-the match awards in the semi-final and final but his one-day form has been scrappy.
"We have a blend of experience and youth, Umar has given us solidity in the middle-order," said Younus of the 19-year-old who hit a hundred in only his third one-day match against Sri Lanka last month.
Paceman Mohammad Asif's return after a one-year doping ban gives strength to Pakistan bowling line-up.
Asif's return will compensate for Shoaib Akhtar's failure to make the squad due to lack of fitness.
The ever-improving duo of Umar Gul and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, fast rising Mohammad Aamir and hard working Rao Iftikhar make up a potent bowling attack with Afridi's leg-spin and Saeed Ajmal's off-spin giving variety to the attack.
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)