Australia v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion September 28, 2009

Pakistan look for more discipline in bowling

Pakistan's deal is not quite done yet. Two wins from two, in this tight tournament, at least means onward progress to the semi-final rests in their own hands. Regardless of the result between Australia and India at Centurion, they will be aiming to keep their game in working order when they take on the world champions in Centurion on Wednesday.

"Our preparation is going really well at the moment," Intikhab Alam, Pakistan's coach, said after an energetic training session at the University of Witwatersrand ground in Johannesburg. "You have to have different strategies against different sides. You can't go with the same strategy as we did against India. We have to look at their strengths batting and bowling and prepare accordingly to that."

Pakistan will be confident, despite a poor recent record against Australia; they've won only three of the last 12 encounters between the sides. "You cannot deny they are the world champions. We lost the series earlier this year (3-2) but I reckon we should've won it and we beat them in the T20. We are confident.

"It's always a challenge to play against better sides. This team has so much potential. Everyone has got a role, batsmen, bowlers and fielders and they all know what to do. If plan A doesn't work the captain is there to implement plan B. We have to take Australia's key points and work to that."

Though progress has been smooth, Pakistan are not without dilemmas. The first is a pleasant, selectorial one. Mohammad Asif has yet to play a part in the tournament, despite intense speculation before each of the two games. If the game becomes a dead rubber, he may well get a look-in. "It's a very healthy sign that your bench strength is such that good players have to sit out. The problem is for selectors in picking a team - if a guy is bowling well, how can you drop him? It is a healthy sign."

The other is an age-old one. On Saturday against India, Umar Gul and Mohammad Aamer gave away six no-balls - and free hits - between them, most of which were punished. Australia will, like India, not waste such offerings. Work is being done on the issue, but match conditions, said Intikhab, are inevitably different.

"We are very strict when we do practice and we always call no-balls in the nets. At times what happens is that pressure builds up and you stretch and strive and that is where you go wrong. It shouldn't happen at all. I don't think there will be that much pressure against Australia - we want to keep winning. It's a crime to bowl a no-ball or wide with free hits."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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