Coach backs Pakistan's pace attack September 22, 2007

Malik dismisses chasing being key to victory

Cricinfo staff



Shoaib Malik: "His [Lawson's] presence is a big support to us because he minutely watches the performance of every player, listing their mistakes and then works on them" © AFP

Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, has dismissed the suggestion that the team batting second is likely to win the World Twenty20 matches in South Africa. "If you have a strong bowling line-up up you can bat first and put pressure on the other team," Malik told agencies.

Pakistan play New Zealand in the semi-final in Cape Town today and Malik said, apart from making any major mistakes, his side had to avoid fielding lapses, like giving away extra runs, to reach the final.

Malik gave credit to coach Geoff Lawson for Pakistan's improvement in fielding. "His [Lawson's] presence is a big support to us because he minutely watches the performance of every player, listing their mistakes and then works on them," Malik said.

Lawson, in turn, praised the team for proving the critics wrong and reaching the semi-final stage of the tournament.

"We faced different types of rivals - from the preliminary round to the Super Eights phase - and so there were different levels of competitions; obviously there were varied challenges midway but the team overcame all of them successfully," said Lawson, who is on his first assignment with Pakistan.

"We lost one game to India and I would say it was a decent defeat as we almost had won and then suddenly could not perform in the bowl-out format which was new to the players," he said. "After beating Scotland the way we played against Sri Lanka and then Australia is a credit to establish the team's reputation as a winning side."

Lawson also said Pakistan's pace attack in Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul could trouble any batting line-up in the world. "We [also] have some competent batsmen besides a couple of good allrounders. So I think it is a right combination needed by a team." But the team may have to rethink their strategies in the event Asif, who is doubtful to play after he sustained an elbow injury, is unavailable to lead the attack.

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