Talat gives thumbs up to Malik in manager's report | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Talat gives thumbs up to Malik in manager's report

Pakistan's team manager Talat Ali gives his thumbs-up to under-fire captain Shoaib Malik and coach Geoff Lawson in his report.

cricket Updated: Dec 24, 2007 17:20 IST

Shoaib Malik may have failed to impress as the captain in the India tour but team manager Talat Ali gave a thumbs-up to the youngster in his report, to be submitted to Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

Talat also threw his weight behind new coach Geoff Lawson and ruled out recommending punishment for Shoaib Akhtar for the pacer's night-life during the India tour.

"Yes, there are certain areas in which we need to improve after the experience of the Indian tour but I wouldn't term my report as a 'drastic' one for anyone," Talat told PTI today.

He also rubbished reports about some players being unhappy with Malik's captaincy style and insisted the youngster had a good cricket brain and was bold enough to become a successful leader.

"A few players might see things differently but I know that 90 per cent of the players are strongly behind their captain. They are no problems within the team," he said.

Malik is still under fire for the team's disappointing tour of India but has been retained as captain until the end of 2008 and Talat said this was the best thing the board could do to guarantee a good future for the national team.

"He has the ability and qualities required to be a good captain that is for sure and I don't see any reason why he will not improve with time," he said.

While he blamed the defeat in India to injury problems and bad luck, Talat hit out at the Indian team for being defensive.

"If we had been playing Australia, they would have tried to win it 2-0. The Indians were content after winning the first Test in New Delhi. They made no real effort or prepare pitches to make the series more interesting.

"We could have won in Delhi, but unfortunately Misbah got run out and then some poor batting let us down," he said.

"I don't consider this Indian attack a strong one. We could have done better. Anil Kumble is their most experienced bowler and he is at the fag end of his career among the rest there are no real match winners for Test cricket," Talat said.

He also confirmed that he would like to see a better fitness regime among the pace bowlers after recent injury problems with Shoaib, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul.

Talat's report would be considered by the governing body of the board next month before they hand out new central contracts to the players.

The manager also backed Lawson, saying he was also learning in international cricket.

"There is no doubting Lawson's commitment to the team. He is sincere and committed and doesn't miss a thing. It will take time but I am confident he and the players will soon strike a winning rapport."