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Pakistan will give its best, says Malik

By Omar Khalid, IANS,

London : Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has played down his team’s sluggish showing in the warm-up games of the World Twenty20 and is confident that the 2007 finalists will put up a better show in the tournament.

Malik said that that the morale in the Pakistan camp remains high in spite of two big defeats against South Africa and India.

He attributed Pakistan’s indifferent form in the practice games against South Africa and India to their late arrival in England.

“We came here quite late because of a tournament at home,” he said referring to the RBS National Twenty20 Cup in Lahore that concluded, May 29.

Pakistan arrived May 31 and got to work straightaway by playing in a warm-up game against South Africa, losing it by 59 runs at Trent Bridge. They were outclassed by India in the next game by nine wickets.

Malik said that Pakistan would put up a much-improved show in the tournament.

“We didn’t get much time to adjust to what are really cold conditions here after coming from Pakistan where the temperature is around 45 (degrees Celsius),” he said.

“But now we are getting used to these conditions and are enjoying our practice sessions in the cold weather.”

Malik said that he and his team-mates are looking forward to have fun in the Twenty20 games.

“Twenty20 cricket is fun to play and we are looking to enjoy our matches and give our best in them.”

Though Malik spoke highly about Pakistan’s title hopes, he counts defending champions India, South Africa and Australia as the best teams in the event.

Malik said that hosts England will be dogged by the absence of their key player – Andrew Flintoff – who was ruled out of the event because of injury.

“Flintoff is a great all-rounder and England will certainly miss him. We will have an edge over England because of his absence,” he said.

Pakistan will meet England in its opening match of the event on June 7 at The Oval.