Pakistan cricket March 17, 2009

World Twenty20 can restore pride - Alam

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam believes winning the ICC World Twenty20 in England this summer would be a great way to restore lost pride to a distressed nation.

Teams have been wary of touring Pakistan in the recent past because of the troubled security situation, and the Lahore shootout has raised questions over the country's status as an international sporting venue. Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, has said that he expects teams to tour Pakistan in "six to nine months" and now Alam has called on his players to target the England tournament to lift spirits.

"Our cricket is going through a rough phase," Alam was quoted as saying by the News, "but we have to fight on and one way of doing that is to start winning titles like the World Twenty20."

Pakistan were finalists in the inaugural edition of the tournament in South Africa in 2007, losing a thriller to India, and Alam believed they had a good shot at winning it in June. "There is no doubt that we can win the title in England," he said. "We have a very reliable batting line-up, while our bowlers are also very good for the shorter version of the game.

"Although it is a batsman's game, bowlers too can play a part by bowling accurate yorkers and mixing up their deliveries. We have enough talent to form a potent attack and we have to ensure they are in peak form for the tournament," said Alam. "Twenty20 is a relatively new innovation, but enough games have been played around the world and they have all underlined the fact that the teams with a higher level of fitness and better fielding skills enjoy a clear edge. That is one area which we would have to improve on."

Pakistan are grouped with England and the Netherlands in Group B for the first stage of the tournament.