World Cup wide open, say captains

Captains predict closely-contested tournament that will thrill players and fans alike.


Afp February 17, 2011

DHAKA: Graeme Smith of South Africa and India’s MS Dhoni joined a chorus of World Cup captains predicting a closely-contested tournament that will thrill players and fans alike.

At a rare assembly of all 14 captains for a photoshoot and media conference in Dhaka ahead of cricket’s showpiece event, the general refrain was that it was impossible to choose a winner.

“I believe every team taking part has a chance to win, it is all very open,” said Smith.

Dhoni said, “All teams are in good touch and the gap between matches will help players recover from niggles. It means every team will be in good shape. A side that plays consistently well over the next six weeks will do well.”

England’s Andrew Strauss said his team’s narrow 16-run win over minnows Canada in a practice match on Wednesday showed how close this tournament could be.

“The conditions here are a lot different from what we faced in Australia recently,” he said. “The key will be how quickly a side can adapt to the conditions. Our game against Canada showed there will be no easy fixtures at the World Cup, which will go to make a great tournament.”

Bangladesh captain Shakibal Hasan said there was no pressure on his team to beat India in tomorrow’s opening match.

“Fans do expect a lot but there is no pressure on us,” said Hasan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2011.

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