India tour tops coach Lawson's priorities

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Aiming to make Pakistan the world beaters, newly appointed Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson has said the forthcoming Tour of India tops his list of priorities.

''It has always been difficult for Pakistan to show their true worth in away series. As the Test series against India would be the first away one for me."

''I want to prepare a Pakistan team fully capable of standing up to the challenge,'' Lawson said.

Lawson, who is presently in his home at Australia, will take charge from the home series against South Africa in the month of August.

But the real challenge for him is his first away series assignment against arch-rivals India in November when they will play play five ODIs and three Tests on the tour.

Claiming that the Pakistan team has the capability of beating the number one team of the world any time and anywhere, he said ''What I want is to see Pakistan as the best Test playing nation.

A team that can beat the best anytime and anywhere in the world.'' In an interview with The News from Sydney, Australia, Lawson clearly spelt out that he sees Test cricket as a real challenge for the team.

Saying that Test cricket was the true way to gauge a team's quality, he said ''Obviously it is Test cricket that comes ahead of every other version of the game. Test cricket shows the true worth of a team."

''Pakistan players have all the guts and quality to rule the world in Test rating. What they need is proper guidance and coaching.'' Before the India series, Pakistan are also scheduled to play against South Africa at home.

''The record shows that Pakistan have always been good at home and he hopes that they would continue with the same tempo in future also. With a bit of more technical help they can perform even better.''

About Pakistan's bowling line up for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, he said ''For Twenty20 cricket, you need a good bowling combination and there is no dearth of that in Pakistan." ''Twenty20 cricket is all about run feasts. I have a plan to get the maximum advantage of a truly talented side.''

On the fitness problems plaguing the side, the former Aussie fast bowler said, ''I am in touch with team trainer Dr Riaz who is qualified and a professional trainer. He is already doing a good job. We would try not to expose the leading players too much to international cricket.''

When told about some former Pakistan Test players' criticism on his selection ahead of Dav Whatmore, he came played it safe, saying he had great respect for all of them.

''If any former Test cricketer has any valued suggestions he could contact me. Our main aim should be to see Pakistan team at the top of the world. If I see any good suggestion coming up from any former player. I would surely try to implement it.''

Lawson, who would be reaching Pakistan by the middle of August, concluded by saying ''What I need is a time and space. I think a truly, talented team like Pakistan could be guided to the place that has been waiting for them for years now.''


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