Karachi:Playing down security concerns in Pakistan during the Champions Trophy in September, coach Geoff Lawson has urged all the international teams to tour the country and make the biennial event a resounding success.
"I have been in Pakistan since last year and I know the ground realities of how safe it is in this country. Anybody can make statements sitting outside no matter if it's Australia, England or New Zealand," he said referring to the three teams, who have been vociferously opposing to having the tournament in Pakistan.
"They should come to Pakistan and experience for themselves what this country is exactly like. The ICC took the right decision to have the tournament in Pakistan," Lawson said.
Lawson was also critical of the Australian board and its players when they pulled out of their Test tour to Pakistan early this year and insisted it was as safe in Pakistan as in anywhere in the world.
"I think no one can make absolute guarantees but the security provided for cricket in Pakistan is absolutely strong and I am sure it will be the same in the Champions Trophy," said the Australian, who is working on a two-year contract with the national team.
The former Test pacer has been training the Pakistan team in a special conditioning camp in the military base of Kakul and feels it has been a thrilling exercise for the youngsters.
"They've had physical training from the army and as the army is renowned for their discipline they've tried to inject some in the Pakistan team.... and it's been great working in accordance with army here at training," he said.
Lawson said Pakistan were blessed with good pace bowling talent and added that players like Rao Iftikhar, Sohail Tanvir and Fawad Alam were progressing well.
Asked about the impact of the absence of experienced pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, Lawson said the team has good players to make up the loss.
"Since I've been the coach I've hardly seen Shoaib and Asif representing Pakistan ... and the current Pakistan team is far better and our hopes are high," he added.
He said pacer Umar Gul had also trained well in the camp to overcome his rib cartilage injury.
"He is doing good in the camp, he's doing physical training, gym, fielding practice. The only thing he is not doing is bowling practice; we still want a final decision from his doctor. The decision will be made after three matches between Pakistan and the Pakistan B team on August 5, 7 and 9.
It would be good to have him in the attack," he said.