With three key players banned for corruption and their homeland a no-go zone for international cricket, Pakistan face a mighty challenge if they are to win a second World Cup.
That’s the view of Imran Khan, the legendary captain who led his country to the 1992 world title.
He believes that the bans handed out to opener Salman Butt and new-ball bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer will hit Pakistan’s chances.
“Without Aamer and Asif – currently two of the world’s best bowlers – our attack is not potent,” Imran said.
“Pakistan are a very unpredictable side,” he said. “They will have to play out of the ordinary to make a mark at the World Cup.
“I fail to understand why they delayed naming the captain because Afridi is the only player who can pull the team together, both as player and as captain.”
Former spinner Iqbal Qasim said Pakistan can shake up the whole tournament.
“Pakistan are the only team in the world who can do anything, shake up the whole tournament by beating any top team and can also give a 440-volt jolt to their fans by going down to any team,” said Qasim.
“We have our full attention focused on the World Cup,” said Afridi.
“We have a balanced team and if we play to our potential nothing is impossible.”
Former captain Wasim Akram believes Afridi and Abdul Razzaq hold the key.
“If the top order gives Afridi and Razzaq a good platform, then they can be ruthless in the death overs,” said Wasim, who also termed bowling as the weak link.
Paceman Shoaib Akhtar has a last chance to bow out on a high.
“After the first stage, it’s anybody?s game and when it comes to knock-out matches, Pakistan can knock any team out on their day – they are a very dangerous team,” said Wasim.