Shoaib Malik upbeat ahead of tri-series

Monday, June 2, 2008

Shoaib Malik , the Pakistan captain, has said he wanted to put his poor IPL performances behind and gear up for the tri-series in Dhaka, starting on June 8. Talat Ali, the manager of the side, is also confident that Pakistan can get the better of India in the tournament, also involving Bangladesh.

"The IPL is over for us and now I'm completely focused on the three-nation tournament in Bangladesh,"

Malik said.

"[In the IPL] I didn't get much opportunity. That is probably the reason behind my record. But it hasn't affected my morale and I'm looking forward to playing in the triangular tournament in Bangladesh."

Malik sat out more than half of Delhi Daredevils' games, including the important semi-final against Rajasthan Royals. He managed only 52 runs in seven games and could muster just two wickets at an average of 42.5.

Shahid Afridi, Malik's Pakistan team-mate, also struggled in a tournament where most Pakistanis struggled for consistency - except for Sohail Tanvir, who's been the stand-out bowler. However, Malik didn't offer any excuse.

"We are all professional cricketers and I don't think there was any extraordinary pressure on us in the IPL,"

he said.

Ali too was upbeat about Pakistan's prospects, especially after stringing together 11 one-day wins in a row.

"I believe that the performances of Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul are really heartening,"

he told The News.

"And also Salman Butt, who played a few very good knocks in the tournament. For Afridi it was just a bad patch and I'm sure he would make a strong comeback soon."

Ali said the Pakistan board may arrange for a brief training camp in Lahore before the team's departure on June 5. The 15-man squad is set to be announced on June 2 following a round of meetings between the national selectors, Malik and Geoff Lawson, the coach.

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