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ICC World Cup: Mushtaq Muhammad heaps praise on Dhoni and Co

Karachi: One of Pakistan's top captains and allrounders, Mushtaq Muhammad has praised Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team for picking themselves up in their opening World Cup match against Pakistan which was a very high pressure game.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (second from right) celebrates a Pakistan wicket with his teammates at the Adelaide Oval yesterday.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (second from right) celebrates a Pakistan wicket with his teammates at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. Pic/AFP

"It would be useless to say I am really disappointed with Pakistan's performance. This was a very big match and such a good chance to defeat India in a World Cup will not come again until four years. It was sad to see our team go into the match without any proper plan and our bowlers let us down," Mushtaq told PTI in an interview.

Mushtaq, who is in Karachi on a private visit, said he would give credit to Dhoni and his team for being so well prepared for the crunch match.

"It was a very high pressure game and the Indian team responded very well. I felt that after having lost so many times in Australia in the last two months the Indians would be jaded and their players fatigued so Pakistan had the advantage in the World Cup match," he said.

"But it was a surprise to see the Indian team pick themselves up so well for the challenge. They played with a plan, their bowlers bowled to a plan and line and their batsmen applied themselves. These things were lacking in our side," he added.

Mushtaq also praised Dhoni's captaincy. "I thought he led the side well because it is not easy to motivate your team after such a dreadful tour. But Dhoni played all his cards right and used his bowlers sensibly and at times aggressively.

He went for wickets and it worked for them." The former captain said that while India could now be a difficult side in the World Cup after their morale boosting win over Pakistan it was exactly the opposite situation for the greenshirts.

"I just hope that our coaching staff works out a plan for  our batsmen to counter the short of good length strategy applied against them by Dhoni. Now all other teams will follow the same plan and this could spell troubled for our batsmen who are comfortable playing from their crease," he said.  

Mushtaq, who is rated as Pakistan's most innovative and courageous captain and who also coached the national team successfully, said the current World Cup would be a high pressure one for bowlers.

"I just think the spinners will play a big role now. Against India neither, Yasir Shah nor Afridi tried to turn the ball. On the pitches being prepared for the World Cup the spinners who go for wickets and obtain break will be successful," he said.

The 71-year-old made it clear that spinners trying to contain runs would face problems on the Australian pitches. "I would still advise the Pakistan think tank to rely on specialist players we should have a specialist keeper and opener as any other option is not workable in this World Cup."

Mushtaq, who coached Pakistan to the 1999 World Cup final in England, said that he still had hopes from the national side but they would have to play out of their skins now in the World Cup.

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