Expect a Pakistan-New Zealand final


KOCHI – Impressed with their consistent showings in the tournament so far, former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson on Sunday backed Shahid Afridi and his men to emerge winners in the much-anticipated World Cup semifinal against India.
“Pakistan have played some good cricket, their guys look really good… and it could be a Pakistan-New Zealand final” Lawson, who coached Pakistan for 15 months since July 2007, told reporters.
Pakistan, who thrashed West Indies by ten wickets in the quarterfinal, are set to take on India in a high-voltage clash in Mohali on Wednesday, while New Zealand play Sri Lanka in the other semifinal a day earlier.
Lawson, who is presently the coach of Indian Premier League team Kochi Tuskers, pointed out that Pakistan had defeated India in Mohali in 2007. The former Australian speedster, who succeeded Bob Woolmer as Pakistan’s coach in July 2007, was sacked before his two-year contract ended, despite leading the team to the final of the inaugural ICC World T20 in South Africa.
Lawson also called for Australian captain Ricky Ponting to be replaced, saying it was time for “fresh leadership.” Though he described Ponting as a “fantastic player” and one of the “greatest batsmen of all time”, Lawson said “It is time for a new captain.”
Australia lost to India in the quarterfinal of the World Cup last week.