Pakistan prepare for T20 World Cup
Coach praises 'top class' preparations as Pakistan head to England.
Last Modified: 30 May 2009 10:21 GMT

Pakistan's loss to India in 2007 has provided incentive this time around [GALLO/GETTY] 
Pakistan are well prepared for their Twenty20 World Cup title bid following a tough conditioning camp and psychological counselling to compensate for their lack of recent playing time, according to their coach Intikhab Alam.

Alam has been advocating the importance of careful preparation going into the second edition of the 12-nation event.

In 2007, Pakistan lost to arch-rivals India in the final of the inaugural event in South Africa, a defeat that Alam said still hurt his players and acted as an incentive to go one better this time around.

Top class preparations

"No one can make any predictions about Twenty20 matches but I am backing my team to do very well because the preparations have been top class," Alam said before the team boarded their plane to London.

"They have been through a gruelling conditioning camp in the mountains and have had very productive sessions with a sports psychologist," he added.

Something Pakistan could not prepare for, however, was last week's withdrawal of spearhead paceman Shoaib Akhtar because of a skin infection, although he has been replaced by Rao Iftikhar.

Better news for the side came when off-spinner Saeed Ajmal's bowling action was cleared last week after he had been reported by match officials for a suspect action.

Alam said Shoaib's absence was unfortunate but there were plenty of capable players in the side.

"Whether it's a Test match, one-day or Twenty20 international, the sports psychologist has impressed upon the guys that cricket is a team game and not about individuals," Alam added.

Fundraising efforts

Pakistan and India will play a warm up match at the Oval on June 3 with the International Cricket Council (ICC) having decided that proceeds from the game would be given to the victims of the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March.

The Pakistan coach said his team had some very experienced players who had the ability to adjust quickly to English conditions.

"I don't think that would be a problem. What we must guard against is complacency, because no opponent can be taken lightly," he said.

Alam added Pakistan's strength lay in their varied bowling attack and they had the pace bowlers to exploit pitches in England.

Pakistan are in Group B along with hosts England and the Netherlands.

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