Pakistan’s upredictability will be surprise weapon: Lawson

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan’s new coach Geoff Lawson plans to use his team’s unpredictability as a surprise weapon against opponents in his bid to turn it into the world’s number one side.

“Unpredictability can be an advantage as much as a drawback, we will use that characteristic to take teams by surprise,”
Lawson told ‘The News’ in an exclusive interview from Sydney on Monday.

Pakistan are notorious in the cricket world for their unpredictability and their reputation was further dented following embarrassing first round exits from the ICC Champions Trophy last September in India and the World Cup in the Caribbean this March. Most pundits blamed Pakistan’s unpredictability and inconsistency as the biggest reasons behind their downfall.

Lawson, 49, was appointed as Pakistan’s new coach earlier this month following the death of Bob Woolmer during the World Cup in March. The former Australian Test pacer spoke on several issues ranging from his players’ weaknesses to the security problems in Pakistan. He sounded very optimistic and believed Pakistan have the potential to become the world’s best team.

Lawson described his charges as
“talented, skilled and entertaining”
and sounded confident that they can rule the world.
“Of course Pakistan can be number one, they have the natural talent and skills to match the best in the world,”
he said.

Coaching Pakistan can be a highly stressful job, but Lawson is not worried. “Stress is only produced when the players and coaching staff feel outside influences are determining their own personal goals. If the players can come to a situation where they are in charge of their own performances and destiny then they will enjoy all of their cricket and life experiences whether they are winning or losing.

“Learning how to train with discipline and intensity will make sure they are prepared for anything they might encounter in a game situation, therefore avoiding stressful situations,”
he said.

Known as Henry among friends and peers, Lawson doesn’t have any security fears either.
“I am coming to Pakistan without any issues,”
he said.
“I don’t have any more fears than if I was in London or New York or Istanbul. Cricket people are safe and sensible people.”

Lawson is also well-prepared for the so-called cultural shock that generally greets Westerners in Pakistan and in facts believes that he knows more about the Pakistani society than most locals.
“As a regular visitor to the sub-continent (India in particular) I won’t find anything I am not expecting. I am currently reading ‘A History of Islamic Societies’ by Ira M Lapidus so I will probably know more about Pakistan society than most locals!”

Lawson is yet to take over as Pakistan coach but is already on the receiving end of some scathing criticism. But even that doesn’t bother him.
“A part of what the team must learn if they are to become more focused is to use outside influences as a positive including the press and the fan reaction, I will be looking for something positive in all that is said and written. I have worked extensively in the media so I know what it is like on the other side of the boundary rope,”
he said.

Lawson doesn’t believe the gap between Pakistan and world champions Australia is too big.
“Pakistan can beat everyone in the world and I don’t think the gap (between Pakistan and Australia) is all that significant.”

The coach is planning to begin his first international stint with a bang by leading Pakistan to the title in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September.
“Pakistan have the players to do well at this short form of the game. Our aim in South Africa will certainly be to win the Cup.”

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