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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 14:35 GMT
Ready for England
Richard Pybus
By Richard Pybus
Pakistan coach

After a slow start against Australia, and a win against Namibia, Saturday's match against England should go a long way to showing that Pakistan are as strong now as they have been in a long time.

The squad is at full strength and there is a common team focus - nowhere more evident that in Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar bowling at full tilt against Namibia.

Psychologically I believe we have the edge over England

It seemed an easy victory at the time but playing against amateur sides presents unique problems.

It's always hard to know what to expect against a team that you have never played before.

There are those who say that the minnows should not be involved, but the World Cup is not just about the powerhouse nations.

I'm still waiting for one of them to cause a major upset - there is a curveball or two to be thrown in this World Cup yet.

As for our defeat against Australia, it gave us an early lesson in not letting teams off the hook.

We had them five wickets down relatively early on, but we bowled poorly to Andrew Symonds.

It made us more determined to show our strength against Namibia - and Shoaib in particular bowled as quick as I can remember.

Shoaib Akhtar
Akhtar was fired up for the match against minnows Namibia

He's a showman and this is the biggest stage of all. He hasn't told me as much, but my feeling is that he has set himself goals for this World Cup - possibly to be man of the tournament.

Looking ahead to England, I would like to believe that psychologically we have the edge after dominating our one-day matches against them in 2001 and reaching the final of the NatWest triangular series with Australia.

And I don't think you can compare our performances against Namibia - there is a big difference between facing some of the fastest bowlers in the world and more traditional English seamers.

We feel positive about our batting, but it is the bowling that has been most impressive.

Behind Wasim and Shoaib, Waqar Younis is fully fit and Mohammad Sami is waiting in the wings.

And that is is before we even get to Saqlain Mushtaq and Shahid Afridi.

There are all sort of permutations as far as our group goes, and a win over two of England, India and Namibia should be enough for us to proceed to the Super Sixes.

But we are aiming to win the lot and take fate out of the equation.

It should make fascinating viewing.



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