Former Pakistan cricket skipper says they are indeed one of the favourites

KHALIL AHMED, Senior Correspondent
Mar 05 - 11, 2007

When PAGE tried to approach the former skipper of Pakistan cricket team Rashid Latif for an interview, the official of the Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA) Asif Khan told us that Rashid Latif was on his way to Canada. However, after having conversation through cell phone with Rashid Latif, Asif Khan gave us the following information for publication. This information was taken from http://www.rlca.com.pk, the official website of the Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA).


"I have always found Rashid as a true professional and one of the most committed people I have ever met. He is a very intelligent person. He is passionate about what he wants to do; I love people like him. Seeing how knowledgeable he is I was surprised he wasn't asked to captain Pakistan more. I believe he is the sort of captain who would always be fair to everyone. I always felt he is a sportsman who can reach out to people and one who can look at them as human beings. And help them."


The Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA) is a non-profit organisation committed to reaching out to the rough diamonds, and refining their talents for the national cricket team of Pakistan. The academy provides free enrolment, training and accessories to anyone poised to become a professional cricketer.


* To become a cricketing house of knowledge and a centre of excellence in cricket education.

* To imbue in every developing cricket player the spirit of the game.

* To develop mental toughness in our youth by mixing street-smart adaptation with well placed principles of technique.

* To make the academy a model of cricket excellence by quality all-round education, both theoretical and practical.

* To develop leaders for Pakistan.

* Unite the people and raise the profile of the country.

* Secure the interests of global partners, sponsors and suppliers.

Analysis of RLCA Strengths:

Free coaching attracts best talent.

Perception of the premier ranked academy in Pakistan.

Existing international players impart coaching.

Team spirit development.

Respect for every player.

Volunteerism for coaching by Test and first class cricketers on no-cost basis.

"Heart Attack Cricket," says Rashid

During the recent tour of South Africa, Pakistan team played heart attack cricket. There were moments, where the team and players did extraordinary feats, while in just another moment their performance would dip to the very lowest. If our performance graph goes high and low like this during World Cup 2007 (WC'07), may be several hospitals will have to issue alerts for heart doctors.

Pakistan lost badly in South Africa, however, the stages at which they won the games, they were under extreme pressure and their wins were very convincing. This is where I feel very confident that Pakistanis will perform well in WC'07.

Usually when one looks for a yardstick, one looks at a positive scenario. For Pakistan that is World Cup 1992 (WC'92). Few observations from WC'92: We had just one Manager in Intikhab Alam and one Physiotherapist. Right now we have three Physios, but what is the result: Half the team is unfit. We saw so many players flying to South Africa and flying back to Pakistan that people started to joke the Emirates must be the happiest entity due to these otherwise disappointing injuries to national players.

Now achieving improved performance of a team through the number of people accompanying the team has in fact had adverse effects and it is more advisable to have one good physiotherapist do the job and he can accomplish it more independently, effectively and efficiently. Fitness is the most important aspect of winning in any sports, especially in one day cricket, where a batsman can run himself out if not fit. Fielders can give away extra runs while fielding near the boundary line. Look how fielders of several countries slide, pick up and throw the ball back towards the wickets: They save crucial fifteen and sometime even twenty five runs and get important run-outs. We are lacking in that even though we have so many fitness staff members accompanying the team.

One other thing from WC'92 was that the moment Imran started to bat at No.3 and Javed Miandad was already batting at No.4, it meant that Pakistan mainly had two batsmen to rely upon during the tournament, while it was expected of others to take lead from their example. This gives me confidence to say that Pakistan can win WC'07, since here as well we have two top reliable batsmen in Younis Khan at No.3 and Mohammad Yousuf at No.4 to win it for us and inspire others around them. Then since Imran Khan was not fully fit and not all the bowlers were world-class, we can say Pakistanis had 3 & a-half bowlers in WC'92, here in WC'07, we can better that: So I am again confident that we do have the bowlers, who can win it for us: We only will have to improve the fielding by few notches.

We have a wicketkeeper batsman, who has an excellent record in the past, but who is struggling at present. Just a hint: Aussies have the same thing going on with Gilcrest: They have rested him for the Kiwis tour and for WC'07, they have selected Brad Haddin as the second wicketkeeper.

There is too much talk going on about WC'07 anxiety. Pressure? What pressure? Pressure is on the poor people of the world trying to feed their families. There is no pressure in cricket. Yes: A victory in any big tournament is tremendously difficult to predict for any team or coach - even for those considered favorites. But that is not pressure: That is reality.

For this, I would like to cite from the famous philosophy book "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. This is the book, which FIFA WC'02 Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gave to his entire players before the big match against England. Here is the quote: "If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles. If you do not know your enemies, but do know yourself, you will won one and lose one. If you do not know your enemies or do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every battle."

The person who needs to be most relaxed and confident at the moment is Inzimam-ul-Haq. I have this to say to Inzi: Who were the greatest bowlers of all times from Pakistan - In that list, were not Wasim Akram and Waqar Younus present. Both were also captains of Pakistan. Is the life moving on for the two great Ws? Yes: Indeed. So will your life Inzi. Remember the words captioned above from "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu and bring the mental state to that of WC'92: Don't get bogged down by the fear of unknown or fear of loss: Understand your strengths and weaknesses and understand the same about your opponents: Give out united challenges to all XI players, be more attacking and employ positive approach: WC'07 is yours to win.

During the next ten days, the best thing for Pakistani players is to rest and chill out as much as they can. They have suffered mental and physical injuries in South Africa, which need healing through relaxation. They need to start training in West Indies one week before the WC'07 and start of with physical, fielding and mental training.

Future is as always bright for Pakistan cricket: Slight changes in mental attitude towards boldness, less emphasis on staffing the team with officials, youth development programs, emphasis on coherent and consistent performance, more attacking cricket on the field, positive approach and belief in the emerging talent: All these ingredients will go a long way in making Pakistani team the world-beaters.

WC'07 is for Pakistan to win: They are indeed one of the favorites.






Inzamam, Mohammad Yousuf,

Rs2.4 million

Abdul Razaq, Shoaib Akhtar,

Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi


Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Malik,

Rs1.5 million

Danish Kaneria and Kamran Akmal


Asim Kamal, Imran Farhat, Rana


Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Nazir,

Salman Butt, Bazid Khan, Umar Gul,

Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Mohammad Asif

and Faisal Iqbal









Lord's, London

West Indies
291 for 8 (60 overs)

WI won by 17 runs

274 all out (58.4 overs)


Lord's, London

West Indies
286 for 9 (60 over)

WI won by 92 runs

194 all out (51 overs)

1983 England

Lord's, London

183 all out (54.4 overs)

India won by 43 runs

West Indies
140 all out (52 overs)

1987 India/Pakistan

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

253 for 5 (50 overs)

Aus won by 7 runs

246 for 8 (50 overs)

1992 Australia/New Zealand

MCG, Melbourne

249 for 6 (50 overs)

Pak won by 22 runs

227 all out (49.2 overs)

1996 India/Pakistan/
Sri Lanka

Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

Sri Lanka
245 for 3 (46.2 overs)

SL won by 7 wickets

241 for 7 (50 overs)


Lord's, London

133 for 2 (20.1 overs)

Aus won by 8 wickets

132 all out (39 overs)

South Africa

Wanderers, Johannesburg

359 for 2 (50 overs)

Aus won by 125 runs

234 all out (39.2 overs)

West Indies

Kensington Oval, Bridgetown



Pakistan/Sri Lanka
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai