Pakistan want to win T20 title for Woolmer

Pakistan captain Younus Khan has said his side would love to win the World Twenty20 as a tribute to their former coach Bob Woolmer.

updated: June 18, 2009 08:29 IST
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Pakistan captain Younus Khan has said his side would love to win the World Twenty20 as a tribute to their former coach Bob Woolmer.

The ex-England batsman died during the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, hours after Pakistan's shock loss to Ireland.

However, a 39-run victory over the same opponents at the Oval on Monday saw Pakistan into the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 where they will play South Africa at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Woolmer, one of the most innovative coaches of his generation who guided English county side Warwickshire to several trophies before enjoying a successful spell with South Africa, was in charge of Pakistan for more than two years and many members of the current side played under him.

"He was an inspiring person for us," said Younus, who hopes to lead Pakistan to victory in Sunday's climax at Lord's after seeing them lose the inaugural 2007 World Twenty20 final to arch-rivals India in Johannesburg.

"He was like a father figure for me and for the whole team. We all still miss him and if we win the World Cup I will dedicate that final game to him."

Pakistan have promoted wickket-keeper Kamran Akmal to open the innings in this shortest format of the game, a move which Younus said was inspired by Woolmer's strategic thinking.

"I learned a lot of things from Bob and he was always flexible, especially in the batting order," Younus said.

"I thought we needed a couple of in-form batsmen for big games like the semi-final and final," he added of a team which made an uncertain start to this event before finding their form.

Younus, himself a top order batsman, remains concerned by Pakistan's inability to make really big scores at this tournament - they were held to 159 for five by Ireland.

"Everybody knows we're slow starters. We take some time and we need some time for ourselves and now we are just two wins away from winning the World Cup.

"I still believe we were 20 runs short. It would be good if we could put 180 or 200 on the board because in the semi-finals there will be good teams against us and it's not possible to win all the time scoring 150."

Pace bowler Umar Gul's Twenty20 record five wickets for six runs in last week's comprehensive win over New Zealand led to whispers of ball-tampering.

But Younus vehemently denied suggestions Gul - the leading wicket-taker in the brief history of Twenty20 internationals with 36 - had cheated and said his success was down to hard work.

"He knows the art, especially in Twenty20," Younus explained.

"He has worked hard in the nets. He has spoken to Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Shoaib Akhtar.

"It's all about hard work in the nets and that's why he's improving from day to day."