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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 16:57 GMT
Extra time pays dividends
Richard Pybus
By Richard Pybus
Pakistan coach

We had quite a tough month in South Africa in December and a few injuries that didn't help our preparation but we have a full-strength squad here now.

Saeed Anwar was hit on the elbow by Shoaib Akhtar in the nets. He got quite a big bruise but he's got the arm out of the sling now and he'll soon be fine.

With him on the mend, the guys are in good shape and it's certainly a good way to start the World Cup.

We got to Johannesburg a week early for some quality preparation and training and we've been quite fortunate with the weather.

Back in Pakistan, there will be plenty of nervous excitement
Back in Pakistan, there will be plenty of nervous excitement

We caught a rain interruption in our first warm-up game but managed to get it finished.

And in the second match, also against Gauteng, there was a big thunderstorm but we managed to get in our full 50 overs with the bat and had 30 overs of bowling at them.

How people play in these matches is important for their confidence and belief so I think warm-up matches have an important part to play.

Of course in Asian cricket-playing countries, the game is second only to religion. It certainly gives a sense of meaning and purpose to the people back at home.

There was a huge turnout when the boys left Pakistan. There was a gala at the Gadaffi stadium in Lahore.

It helped them a lot to know everyone was so supportive. It helps to gel the team knowing that the nation is behind.

We are quite fortunate in that we have quite a few players who have been through World Cups before - players like Wasim, Waqar, Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq.

We are really in the strongest position we have been in a while in terms of having mature cricketers - mature in their ability to read the game as much as anything else.

The lovely thing about a World Cup is that it always throws up the next generation of exciting cricketers.

Abdul Razzaq (right) had a huge tournament in 1999
Abdul Razzaq (right) had a huge tournament in 1999

At the last one, Abdul Razzaq was only 19 and he had a huge tournament. He really stamped his authority on the game then.

Now, we've got young prospects like Taufeeq Umar, Saleem Elahi and Mohammad Sami. The main thing for those youngsters is to listen to the guys out on the field and learn from their experience.

As for my role, most of the guys speak good English so the language barrier is not an issue. I just make sure I speak slowly so we can communicate.

If points need to be got across in a slightly different perspective there's plenty of senior boys who understand where I'm coming from and can pass on the message.

We have had a nice smooth lead-in to the tournament, and our first match against Australia on the 11th.

You always want to play well from the word go but it's all about momentum. If we were to lose that match there is no point dwelling on it.

Similarly, you are never looking at bankers or looking to target specific matches to reach the next stage.

You must go out with a very simple objective - to win every game.





Links to more Pakistan stories


 

SEE ALSO
Pakistan: The agony and ecstasy
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Pybus and the Pakistan allure
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