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February 14, 2010
After a woeful series in Australia, one in which Pakistan were battered and failed to get even one win, stand-in captain Shoaib Malik believes the upcoming two-match Twenty20 series against England in the UAE might be the turnaround they are desperately seeking.
"As cricketers, we didn't play well on the Australia tour," Malik said. "But whatever happened is for the betterment of Pakistan cricket. I'm sure it will help the team and the players. It's history now and we are looking forward to these two matches."
It's also a unstable setup as far as the team is concerned. Coach Intikhab Alam's future is unclear and he has not travelled with the side, being summoned instead to answer questions over the rout in Australia. In addition, Shahid Afridi is serving a two-match ban for the 'ball biting' incident during the fifth ODI in Perth, which will keep him out of the first match against England. Reportedly, tensions have also arisen between Malik and Mohammad Yousuf, who captained Pakistan in their Test whitewash in Australia.
"When you lose, these things come up but I'm sure that you learn from your mistakes," said Malik. "We have had quite a few team meetings, we've talked about everything and what we did in Australia. We learn from these mistakes.
"It's an opportunity to utilise the time before the World Twenty20. We have two matches against England and they are a good side. We have in our team some youngsters who are very talented and they are getting their opportunity. I'm hoping and I'm sure they will do well."
For Pakistan, the back-to-back matches on February 19 and 20 represent yet another series on foreign soil as security concerns continue to rule out international fixtures at home. Malik, though, was confident that situation will change sooner rather than later.
"We are struggling a little bit back home but we are hoping to get international cricket back in our country. Things are getting better; it's going to take a little bit of time but soon I think we will see international cricket back in our country."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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