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Pak players look to bury ghost of 2007 and defend T20 title

April 23, 2010 13:32 IST

They have some horrible memories from their last tour to the West Indies but Pakistani players say when they will land in the Caribbean for the Twenty20 World Cup they will have nothing but cricket on mind.

Pakistan were eliminated in the first round of the ICC World Cup in 2007 after a shock defeat to minnows Ireland and the next day, on March 18, their coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room.

The Pakistani players were treated as suspects by the Jamaican police and could not leave the place until the police cleared them and the Coroner declared that there was nothing sinister in Woolmer's death and that the death of the burly South African was natural.

Stumper Kamran Akmal and paceman Mohammad Sami, who were part of the 2007 World Cup squad, said they were going for the T20 World Cup with an open and positive mind.

"Whatever happened in 2007 is now history. The failure of the team to qualify for the knockout stage and the death of Bob Woolmer still rankles in our mind but we have to move on," Akmal said as the team prepares to leave on Saturday.

Sami said he could not forget the events of that World Cup but he was going to the West Indies with renewed passion and wanted to do well and see his team do well in World Cup.

Abdul Razzaq, who was named in the original squad in 2007 but pulled out due to an injury, echoed the same sentiment.

"The T20 World Cup is a big challenge for all of us and I think all of us want to do well to in a way make up for what happened in 2007," he added.

Salman Butt, Pakistan's senior opener who was close to Woolmer, said for him Woolmer still remained a revered figure.

"He was an excellent coach and great communicator. We all miss him but life goes on and we all realize that this T20 World Cup is very important for all of us. We need to do well because of the recent events in Pakistan cricket," Butt said.

He said the good thing was that captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis had worked hard to bring harmony in the team and gel the players together.

"There is a self belief that if we stick together and put in collective efforts we are capable of winning this World Cup," he said.

Afridi said he was not thinking about 2007 because the pressure of ensuring that his team do well in the upcoming tournament was big enough.

"This is a new tournament and we need to do well. I want to see the players put in 200 percent on the field," he said.

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