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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 17:05 GMT

Wasim pays tribute to fitness
Wasim Akram believed his fitness was the key to claiming his record 50th World Cup dismissal against Namibia on Sunday.

The 36-year-old rolled back the years to produce yet another vintage performance, taking five wickets in Pakistan's emphatic 171-run victory in Kimberley.

Wasim Akram successfully appeals for an lbw against Namibia
Wasim had a record-breaking day in Kimberley

He reached the half-century mark when he had Namibian captain Deon Kotze trapped lbw for eight.

"If you play for 17-18 years and stay fit, you are bound to get records," said Wasim, who took his career one-day wicket haul to 498.

"It will be fun after 20 years to see how many bowlers have claimed 50 wickets in the World Cup.

"The guys all congratulated me for breaking the record but this was just like any other game for me."

Wasim's bowling figures of 5-28 were Pakistan's best ever at a World Cup, surpassing Saqlain Mushtaq's 5-35 against Bangladesh four years ago.

The all-rounder also became the most capped player at the World Cup on his 34th appearance, surpassing former team-mate Javed Miandad and Australia's Steve Waugh, who both played in 33 matches.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar showed he is back to full fitness, taking 4-46 from eight fiery overs.

One of his deliveries was timed at just under 100 mph, one of the fastest balls ever recorded.

But the 'Rawalpindi Express' said he was not obsessed with pace.

Shoaib Akhtar takes another wicket against Namibia
Shoaib was back to his wicket-taking best

"I'm not after the speed at all, I'm here to get wickets," he said. "I've already crossed the 100 mph.

"Being the fastest bowler in the world is an honour to have under your belt but it doesn't make you a better bowler."

The victory will provide Pakistan with a much-needed confidence boost ahead of their crucial Group A encounters against England, India and Zimbabwe.

Although Salim Elahi was the only batsman to register a half century against the African minnows, the top order enjoyed significant time at the crease.

"This was like any other game, it's the World Cup," said Wasim.

"You can't just take it easier against the so-called weaker teams, you have to treat every game seriously.

"I'm very motivated and so is the team. We're here to do win the World Cup."

Links to more Pakistan stories


Pakistan's Wasim Akram
"You have to be motivated whoever you play in the World Cup"

Australia deny defiant Pakistan
10 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
Pakistan lack self-belief
15 Feb 03 |  Pakistan

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