Coach has no security fears July 31, 2007

Lawson sees Pakistan's 'unpredictability' as advantage

Khalid Hussain



Pakistan have the natural talent and skills to match the best of the world, said Geoff Lawson, the side's new coach © AFP

Geoff Lawson, Pakistan's new coach, plans to use his team's unpredictability as a surprise weapon against opponents in his bid to turn it into the world's No. 1 side.

"Unpredictability can be an advantage as much as a drawback, we will use that characteristic to take teams by surprise," said Lawson.

Lawson described his charges as "talented, skilled and entertaining" and sounded confident that they can rule the world. "Of course Pakistan can be No. 1, they have the natural talent and skills to match the best in the world," he said.

Coaching Pakistan can be a highly stressful job, but Lawson is not worried. "Stress is only produced when the players and coaching staff feel outside influences are determining their own personal goals. If the players can come to a situation where they are in charge of their own performances and destiny then they will enjoy all of their cricket and life experiences whether they are winning or losing.

"Learning how to train with discipline and intensity will make sure they are prepared for anything they might encounter in a game situation, therefore avoiding stressful situations," he said.

Known as Henry among friends and peers, Lawson doesn't have any security fears either. "I am coming to Pakistan without any issues," he said. "I don't have any more fears than if I was in London or New York or Istanbul. Cricket people are safe and sensible people."

Lawson is also well-prepared for the so-called cultural shock that generally greets Westerners in Pakistan and in fact he believes that he knows more about the Pakistani society than most locals.

"As a regular visitor to the subcontinent [India in particular] I won't find anything I am not expecting. I am currently reading A History of Islamic Societies by Ira M Lapidus, so I will probably know more about Pakistan society than most locals!"

As a regular visitor to the subcontinent [India in particular] I won't find anything I am not expecting. I am currently reading A History of Islamic Societies by Ira M Lapidus, so I will probably know more about Pakistan society than most locals
Lawson is yet to take over as Pakistan coach but is already on the receiving end of some scathing criticism. But even that doesn't bother him. "A part of what the team must learn if they are to become more focused is to use outside influences as a positive including the press and the fan reaction. I will be looking for something positive in all that is said and written. I have worked extensively in the media so I know what it is like on the other side of the boundary rope," he said.

Lawson doesn't believe the gap between Pakistan and world champions Australia is too big. "Pakistan can beat everyone in the world." He is planning to begin his first international stint with a bang by leading Pakistan to the title in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in September. "Pakistan have the players to do well at this short form of the game. Our aim in South Africa will certainly be to win the Cup."

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