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Pakistan to open campaign against depleted Windies

September 22, 2009 18:33 IST

Younis KhanStrong contenders Pakistan will have an easy task at hand when they open their Champions Trophy campaign by taking on a depleted West Indies at the Wanderers on Wednesday.

Younis Khan's men could not have asked for a better beginning in the eight-nation showpiece event as Pakistan are eyeing to become only the second team after India to clinch three high profile ICC titles — World Cup, Twenty20 World Championship and Champions Trophy.

Completion of dope-tainted pace bowler Mohammed Asif's year-long ban will surely be a welcome news for the Pakistan team management and his inclusion into the squad would only add sting to their bowling attack.

Asif is also raring to prove himself once again in the tournament as he said, "I don't think I could get a better platform than the Champions Trophy to make my comeback. And I have always liked bowling on the South African pitches."

However, Pakistan who won the 1992 World Cup, would announce their final eleven in the morning and might not be willing to disturb the team combination to accommodate Asif in the first match.

Besides skipper Younis, Pakistan batting order boasts of the names like Shahid Afridi, who was instrumental in their T20 World Cup win in England three months back and experienced Mohammad Yousuf.

On the other hand, a depleted West Indies may find it tough to stop Pakistan and there is a possibility that it could turn out to be a lop-sided contest.

With their regular stars like Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivanaraine Chanderpaul and

Dwayne Bravo missing from the squad due to a bitter contractual row between the players and the board, Floyd Reifer will lead the side.

"I want the people in the Caribbean to know that this is a West Indies team that is dedicated to the West Indies cricket. This is not a second-string team," Reifer said.

But the captain's assurance notwithstanding, hardly any miracle is expected from the Caribbeans, who were humiliated in both the ODI and Test series in their own backyard at the hands of minnows Bangladesh recently.

Teams

Pakistan: Younis Khan (C), Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Anjum, Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Yousuf, Naved-ul-Hasan, Saeed Ajmal, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul.

West Indies: Floyd Reifer (C), Darren Sammy, DavidBernard, Tino Best, Royston Crandon, Travis Dowlin, Andre Fletcher, Kevin McClean, Nikita Miller, Kieran Powell, DaleRichards, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith, Gavin Tonge, Chadwick Walton, Daren Powell.

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