Pakistan captain wants to put disappointing 2007 behind

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, wants his players to put a disappointing 2007 behind them and deliver an improved performance over the next 12 months. Apart from losing all three Test series last year, two against South Africa and an away series in India, Pakistan faced a first-round exit at the World Cup, where their coach Bob Woolmer died.

Although Malik led Pakistan to a series win over Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi - his first series in charge - and a place in the final of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa four months later, the team's performance otherwise remained poor.

"Our series win over Sri Lanka and runners-up finish to India in the Twenty20 were the bright points and if we keep that sort of intensity we can also improve our Test performance,"

Malik told AFP.

Pakistan also lost ODI series against South Africa and India and fell to sixth in both ODI and Test rankings.

"It's not that we lost one-sided contests, but the notable thing was that we made minor mistakes and if we have learnt from those mistakes, which I am confident we have, then we can do well in this new year."

Pakistan's first assignment for the new year is a five-match ODI series at home against Zimbabwe before taking on Australia in March, a series which Malik hopes will raise his team's confidence. The Asia Cup 2008 is also scheduled to take place in Pakistan during June 2008.

"Whenever you play against Australia, your confidence rises because they are a world-class team and I hope that if we do well it will help us in the ICC Champions Trophy later this year.

"Apart from a few positives, the last year was not very good for us, but I am sure that the team will settle and do well in the new year, in which we have to play Australia and [compete] in various important tournaments."

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