Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, believes players in the national team are still nine to 12 months away from being as fit as they should be. "They are that far away from being where they should be as professional cricketers," he told Reuters.
Though reasonably happy with the progress the side had made in terms of fitness, Lawson said there were still some areas to work on. "The players have responded well to hard training but what is frustrating for me most is, we do some things really well and then we fall back."
Lawson said the side was keen on winning the final against South Africa since they had never beaten the side in a bilateral one-day series. "If we can win the final of this series it will give us a tremendous psychological boost for the tour to India."
A level III coach in Australia before joining Pakistan, Lawson said he had no plans to duplicate the Australian system in Pakistan. "I think it would be foolish to try to transplant the Australian system into Pakistan cricket because they have a different culture, system and building blocks. It will take time to make these players change their old habits. I am still learning how their culture affects their cricket and how they go about their training."
He was also confident that Shoaib Malik, Pakistan's young captain, will get better every series. "Malik is new and he listens and takes things on board. He is good at interacting with the players. And from what I have heard this is different from what it used to be in the past in Pakistan cricket."
Pakistan play South Africa in the fifth ODI on October 29 in Lahore before travelling to India for five ODIs and three Tests.