Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bangladesh Tri Series - Pakistan's True Test

Pakistan have won 12 ODIs on the trot - beginning with a dead rubber against India in November 2007- but, as impressive as that feat is, don't let it fool you. Eleven of those wins came against relatively weak sides: Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Pakistan have not faced tough opponents since their tour to India and Tuesday's match will provide a fair indication of their progress.
Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, said the emphatic nature of the wins against Bangladesh - six in a row, the smallest margin being 23 runs and the largest being 152 - was down to his team's clinical performances. "After the Bangladesh series in Pakistan, I sat down and analysed the games," Lawson said. "In the end I was really happy with the way we played. We played well enough to not let them into the game. We've won 12 in a row for very good reason. We haven't let Bangladesh sneak into the game and show what they've got."
That maybe true but the Asia Cup, which starts later this month, and Champions Trophy in September will test whether Pakistan have built a formidable outfit under Shoaib Malik, who began his tenure as captain in May 2007. Especially since Pakistan's two most recent series against strong teams - India and South Africa - ended in defeats.
"One of our goals is to equal Australia's record [21 consecutive wins]," Lawson said. "To get to 22 wins we've got to play every game seriously and probably have to beat India a few times." For that to happen, the players who have been cashing in against the weaker teams must continue to churn out match-winning efforts, while the others must raise their performance.

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