Intikhab Alam, the new Pakistan coach, has given preference to match experience in domestic tournaments over camps to prepare for the home series against India in January next year. Intikhab took over from Geoff Lawson in late October and his first assignment will be the ODI series against West Indies in Abu Dhabi starting November 12.
"I would say there is no better way to prepare national team probables than to make them play every competitive match of the forthcoming Quaid-e-Azam Trophy," Intikhab told the Karachi-based News. "It is useless organising and arranging long-duration camps when the top domestic competition is in progress." Pakistan's national players are currently participating in the Pentangular Trophy, a provincial four-day domestic tournament, which will be followed by the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the country's premier first-class competition.
Intikhab said even though Pakistan have played no Test cricket since early this year they have an advantage over India, who have played 11 Tests, including the ongoing one in Delhi, as well as four ODI series. "[India] must be feeling exhausted by the time they play the series against Pakistan starting at the turn of year. By the time the Indians will be here, the probables after playing good and hard domestic cricket would be in a better position to deliver."
Intikhab, who coached Pakistan during their victorious World Cup campaign in 1992 and then again in 2000, said the job was about man management. "Most of the boys emerging to the forefront already have the knowledge of basic coaching. What a coach does is to make slight adjustments in the technique of a player if he goes wrong somewhere or to work mentally on him if he has got a habit of committing the same mistake regularly. A coach is the one who earns respect from the boys leading by example. Cricket is all about discipline, patience and training and learning in a friendly atmosphere."
Intikhab said he was fortunate to have played alongside Ijaz Butt, the current Pakistan board chairman. "It is always easy to do your job when you feel you would not get interrupted."