'Isolation' camp a success, Alam says
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has said the preparatory camp - where the team was in isolation - for the Test series against Sri Lanka in isolation served its purpose. The camp was held at a ground 30 km from Karachi on the advice of Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain.
"The idea was to get the 22 players together, eat together, spend some quality time with each other and analyse the day's activities," Alam told reporters on Thursday. "Younis Khan is a very positive man and he gets involved himself with the players.
"Some players were shy so we put pennies in their mouth so that they could speak their heart out. It was not a long camp but we achieved a lot in four days, an understanding was developed."
Alam said he was also encouraged by Shoaib Malik's attitude following his removal from captaincy. "I am very happy with how Shoaib is behaving," he said. "He is very cooperative with the captain, giving him full support and also mixing with his other teammates. I went to him and told him 'Well done, this is the way, nobody can remain captain forever'."
Alam had submitted a report to the PCB recommending Malik be replaced as captain, following Pakistan's2-1 ODI series defeat against Sri Lanka at home. He also made a mention of Kamran Akmal's poor run, both with the bat and the gloves, though he was subsequently retained in the 15-man squad for the first Test. "It was just to put the message across to him," Alam said. "At times we have to realize and tell the person that there are other players in the pipeline and you have to pull your socks up."
Pakistan play their first Test in over 14 months, and have experienced a serious dearth of cricket in the country owing to security reasons but Alam was confident his team would pull up fine. "Unfortunately we didn't play a Test last year, but we have motivated our players and I feel it's a great opportunity for our players to prove themselves."