Malik - Trophy wide open
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik believes there is no favourite for the ICC Champions Trophy.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 16/09/09 12:13pm
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik believes there is no favourite for the ICC Champions Trophy and deems the tournament tougher than the World Cup.
"The Champions Trophy is more competitive than the World Cup and no team is favourite to win the title," said Malik, 27, who was sacked as national captain after Pakistan lost 2-1 to Sri Lanka in a home one-day series in January.
"In the first phase a team needs to win at least two matches to progress to the semi-final, so you have to do your best in each match and that's why this event is regarded as tougher than the World Cup."
The tournament gets under way in South Africa on September 22 and although Pakistan have never progressed beyond the semi-final stages in the competition since it began in 1998, Malik is fully motivated to do his best.
"Captaincy comes after the team and if you are motivated enough to do your best for the team then it gives you full satisfaction and I have put everything behind me and want to do well in the trophy." he said.
Pakistan, who fly out to Johannesburg this week, are in Group A of the tournament alongside defending champions Australia, India and West Indies, while hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand make up Group B.
Pakistan face West Indies on September 23 before taking on their arch-rivals India three days later, a match the former captain has highlighted as the one to watch.
"It is the most awaited match, both for the crowd and for the players because if you perform well and help your team win you become an instant hero, so players from both teams try to put up their best." he said.
Malik has revealed past great Javed Miandad has given tips to the batsmen at the training camp.
"Individually most of the players, including me have benefited from the tips which Miandad gave us and I hope our batting will lend support to the bowling which is doing well recently." he added.