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October 18, 2008
As Pakistan cricket undergoes its umpteenth revamp and a new PCB chairman with new ideas and possibly personnel settles in, Geoff Lawson, Pakistan's coach, remains indifferent to the criticism directed at him after an uncertain year in charge.
Lawson's tenure has been a difficult one; a lack of cricket coupled with some poor on-field performances has made him an easy target. Even Ijaz Butt, the newly-installed chairman, has questioned his contribution. But in an interview with Cricinfo just after the four-nation Twenty20 tournament in Canada, Lawson was in a bullish mood about his stint and the future for Pakistan.
"The only criticism I take any notice of is the criticism within my group and my own criticism," he said. "I'm very harsh on myself about what we need to do and I certainly don't take any notice of the media."
Lawson has had a spiky relationship with the Pakistan media, which reached its lowest ebb during the Asia Cup, when the media walked out of his press conference in Karachi. Lawson insisted, however, that the only support he needed was from the players and the board.
"I pick up the paper and laugh. You can't take any notice of it, you just have to ignore it. It's one of the big issues I've brought up with the players, I've said 'look, you can't let what people say in the press, particularly the Pakistani press, affect how you play the game. You have support from the coaching staff and from the board itself, so play the game' ... My life is not affected by what the media say."
In a wide-ranging, typically honest chat, Lawson also spoke about the Australian attitude he was trying to instil into the Pakistan side and the changes that need to be made to improve the game in the country.
"One of the main reasons I was employed by the PCB was to bring that sort of attitude to the Pakistan team," Lawson said. "I've played the game hard, I've played to win and I've played an aggressive style of cricket. When you have talented players you can do that. The job now is to get over all the hurdles that are placed in your way, to transfer that to the team."
When asked about the nature of the hurdles, Lawson pointed to the lack of facilities in some areas of the country. "Well, the fact that there aren't good enough gyms in all the outlying regions. All the players can't follow a high-level fitness program. That's a basic thing. It's great in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi, but not everywhere. And if you live in an outlying region, or even Quetta or rural Sind or Punjab you don't have all that access. Within Australia or England, you just take it for granted that the players will be able to train at a high level. That's a fairly significant hurdle, but the PCB are trying to work on those sorts of things."
Click here for the full interview.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore
The Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Kings XI Punjab and Northern Knights, in Mohali