Karachi:Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said on Wednesday that there was no favourite for the elite Champions Trophy, which he described as tougher than the World Cup.
"The Champions Trophy is more competitive than the World Cup and no team is favourite to win the title," Malik told reporters on the sidelines of a training camp for the September 22-October 5 event held in South Africa.
Pakistan will wrap up their preparations late on Wednesday before flying out to Johannesburg early Thursday.
Pakistan, who have never progressed beyond the semi-final stages in the biennial Champions Trophy since its inception in 1998, are in Group A alongside defending champions Australia, India and the West Indies.
Hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand form Group B. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-final.
"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," said Malik.
Malik singled out Pakistan against India as "the match" of the event.
"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," said Malik.
Pakistan face the West Indies in their opening match on September 23 before squaring off against arch-rivals India three days later. Their final group match is against Australia on September 30.
Malik, sacked as captain after Pakistan's 2-1 loss in a home one-day series against Sri Lanka in January, said he was 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," said Malik.
The 27-year-old said former great Javed Miandad, who has given tips to the batsmen at the camp, had helped a great deal.
"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," said Malik.