Sunday 28 October 2007 

Lawson Says Pakistan Have Much Work To Do

Pakistan's cricketers need nine to 12 months of work to get to the fitness level expected of professional players, their Australian coach Geoff Lawson said on Sunday.

"They are really a group of good people besides being good cricketers. They want to do well and work hard," Lawson said in an interview with Reuters.

"But physically they are still nine to 12 months away from being as fit as they should be. They are that far away from being where they should be as professional cricketers.

"The players have responded well to hard training but what is frustrating for me most is we do some things really well and than we fall back. But I knew it would take time and I am reasonably happy with the progress."

Lawson, who took over in July as successor to Bob Woolmer who died suddenly during the World Cup in March, said he did not plan to try to impose Australian methods on the team.

"I think it would be foolish to try to transplant the Australian system into Pakistan cricket because they have a different culture, system and building blocks.

"It will take time to make these players change their old habits. I am still learning how their culture affects their cricket and how they go about their training."

LEARNING PROCESS

Lawson said he was impressed with captain Shoaib Malik.

"Malik I think will only get better and better as a captain. He is new and he listens and takes things on board. He is good at interacting with the players. And from what I have heard this is different from what it used to be in the past in Pakistan cricket.

"This is more of the Australian style of cricket where everyone in the team can have a conversation with the captain and is equal."

The Australian said the home series against South Africa had been a big learning process for him.

"We have never beaten South Africa in a one-day series. So that is one thing we want to do. If we can win the final of this series it will give us a tremendous psychological boost for the tour to India."

The one-day series is level at 2-2 with the deciding game in Lahore on Monday. Pakistan will then play India in five one-dayers starting on Nov. 5.

© Reuters 2007

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