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Pakistan team is fully united, says Malik

Lahore, Nov 9 (UNI) Captain Shoaib Malik today said his team is united ahead of the three-match one-day International series against the Windies in Abu Dhabi starting from Wednesday.

Speaking to mediapersons at the Jinnah Terminal in Karachi just before the team's departure to Abu Dhabi, Malik said his boys were fully ready for the series and will romp home with a comprehensive victory against the West Indies.

''The team is completely united and the boys are itching to take the field against the West Indies,'' Pakistan captain said at the helm of a 15-man strong squad that includes controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar as well.

Recently there were reports that senior players in Pakistan squad were unhappy with Malik's captaincy.

However, such reports gained weight when senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf, on Friday, alleged that Malik's shabby treatment towards him was one of the major reasons for his deflection to the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL).

At a two-day camp that concluded in Karachi yesterday, new team coach Intikhab Alam was seen busy in sorting out the differences between Malik and some of the senior players.

Even at one of the team meetings, veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Shoaib openly expressed their displeasure at Malik's handling of senior players.

The team coach, however, said all such differences have been sorted out in the greater interest of the team.

Echoing Intikhab's views, Malik said, ''There was greater understanding between him and the players. He said the series against the West Indies was an important one as it comes before the home assignment against India in January next year.

''We want to do well in Abu Dhabi to raise our morale ahead of the though series against India,'' Malik asserted.

India is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan early in January to play three Tests in Karachi, Rawalpindi and here besides featuring in five ODIs and a Twenty20 International.

The 26-year-old all-rounder further stated that return of the Rawalpindi Express was a good sign for Pakistan and hoped that fast bowler would shine in Abu Dhabi. ''He (Shoaib) is a great fast bowler and his return will inspire the younger players in the team,'' affirmed Malik.


Story first published: Sunday, November 9, 2008, 19:03 [IST]
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