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August 17, 2012
Dav Whatmore, Pakistan's coach, has said it's a "good thing" to have several members of the team's World Twenty20 squad playing in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), despite a conditioning camp in Lahore, ahead of the series against Australia in the UAE, being on.
"We can prepare in all sorts of ways, but there is an opportunity for some of the boys to participate in the SLPL and it's a good thing; I have no problem with it," Whatmore said at the camp. "At least they are playing in similar conditions and on two grounds [in Sri Lanka] where we are going to play matches [in the World T20]."
The league's matches are being played at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, and at the Pallekele International Stadium, both of which are venues for the World T20. A majority of the players who are part of Pakistan's World T20 and Australia T20s squad - including Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Shoail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Akmal and Imran Nazir - are among the Pakistan players contracted in the SLPL. Also, Misbah-ul-Haq, and Imran Farhat, who were picked for the ODI-leg of the Australia series, are at the SLPL.
"There are few other [countries] doing the same thing, they are getting good practice," Whatmore said. "For us the practice [ahead of the Australia series], for most of the boys, will be at the SLPL."
Pakistan will play three ODIs and three T20s against Australia between August 28 and September 10, before both squads fly directly to Sri Lanka for the World T20. The Pakistan team management, with the players still in the country - the list includes Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Anwar Ali, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Sami - will leave for the UAE next week.
Whatmore said Pakistan will be wary of Australia, who have fallen to No. 4 on the ODI rankings - their lowest-ever ranking after being the top ranked one-day side since September 2009. "They obviously will come hard at us to change their fortunes. But what matters is what happens on the day."
The squad chosen for the series, Whatmore said, is good enough to win. "The selectors have given us a group of players who are competitive enough to give us the right results and win the game. This is our home series, again away from home; we will do our best to perform in the conditions, which are close to the conditions in Pakistan, but certainly [not the same as] Pakistan."
Commenting on Pakistan's chances at the World T20 in Sri Lanka, Whatmore didn't single out any favourite. "Every team has started taking this form of the game more seriously and all of them will be pushing hard.
We have good team for this format. But some countries who weren't looking at this format seriously [before], now they are; hence you can see all teams have good squads for the format. It's a volatile form of game and on the day, even one particular over could matter."
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala