Pakistan splits Champions Trophy preparatory camp

The Pakistan team management on Tuesday decided to split the Champions Trophy preparatory camp into two parts.

updated: September 01, 2009 15:09 IST
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The Pakistan team management on Tuesday decided to split the Champions Trophy preparatory camp into two parts with coach Intikhab Alam laying stress on having more flexibility in the team.

Initially it was announced that the players would attend a 10-day conditioning camp in Lahore, for which the newly appointed batting consultant Javed Miandad had also prepared special grassy pitches for the batsmen in Lahore.

But on Tuesday, Intikhab said the players would first attend a conditioning camp in Lahore from September 1 to 6 in which they will only have physical training and counseling sessions with psychologist Maqbool Babri, who also worked with them before the World Twenty20 in England.

The second part of the preparations would be a training camp in Karachi from September 12 to 16 in which the players will work with Miandad and other specialist coaches nominated by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"We have a lot of talented players in the side and we have planned our preparations in such a way that this talent is not wasted," Intikhab told reporters on Tuesday in Lahore before the start of the camp.

Intikhab, a former Test captain, said he was trying to introduce a policy of flexibility in the team under which players can be asked to bat at any position and team combinations changed according to situational requirements.

"We must not be rigid in our approach. We have the talent to be flexible and that is the main requirement of limited over cricket these days," Intikhab said.

The Pakistan coach said only one specialist opener was picked in the squad because of this flexible approach.

"We will use Kamran Akmal with Nazir as our opening combination and we can also try out Shoaib Malik as an opener if need arises. Using a makeshift opener gives us the option of strengthening our batting or bowling," he said.

Intikhab also made it clear that he was counting on experienced batsman Muhammad Yousuf to provide stability in the middle order.

"He is a very good player and the batting should revolve around him in South Africa."

Intikhab said he saw bowling as Pakistan's main strength in the Champions Trophy, with an excellent pace attack and two quality spinners in Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi.

"We now also have Muhammad Asif in the team and he is a top notch performer. He is coming back after a long time and he will take time to settle down but we still have plenty of bowling options," he said.

Pakistan will leave for South Africa on September 17 and Intikhab said they would play a couple of warm up matches before the competition.

"The warm up matches we played against India and South Africa in the Twenty20 World Cup helped us a lot in adjusting to English conditions. The warm up games will play a similar role for us in Champions Trophy," he added.