ICC Champions Trophy: Pakistan in great spirits, says team manager Naveed Cheema

Out of the Champions Trophy, the Pakistan team has been training every day unlike the Indians who have preferred to skip outdoor nets.

Updated: June 13, 2013 23:10 IST
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Birmingham: A rainy Thursday kept both India and Pakistan indoors. While Pakistan were forced to train at the indoor nets of the Edgbaston Cricket Centre, the Indians were holed up in their hotel rooms.

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Only Irfan Pathan and Murli Vijay turned up for some batting practice in the morning, but were left disappointed after the heavens opened up around noon.

There are rain threats over Saturday's clash between India and Pakistan here. Wednesday's group A clash between Australia and New Zealand was washed out and the rains did not relent on Thursday.

From a tournament perspective, Saturday's group B ICC Champions Trophy match between the sub-continental rivals is inconsequential. India are already in the semis after wins against South Africa and the West Indies while Pakistan are out after two defeats.

But an India-Pakistan match is always a cracker of a contest and a win against the arch-rivals will certainly salvage some pride for Misbah-ul-Haq's team that is scheduled to tour the West Indies next month.

The mood in the Pakistan camp is quite relaxed. The players looked a happy bunch while doing their fielding and stretching drills. Kamran Akmal got some special batting tips from coach Dav Whatmore.

"Can you see any hint of tension in the boys?" asked Pakistan's team manager Naveed Akram Cheema. "The boys are just fine and enjoying themselves here," he added. (See pictures: Pakistan forced indoors at Edgbaston)

With several former cricketers, including ex-captain Wasim Akram and speedster Shoaib Akhtar, flaying the team for their Champions Trophy performance, the media here has been kept at arm's length.

Cheema said the team is following a Code of Conduct passed on by the Pakistan Cricket Board. "Can't help you with interviews as I am only following instructions," he said.

The Pakistan manager, however, said the players were looking forward to the India match. "It's no point looking back. We will be playing at Birmingham which has been a good ground for us," he said. In the 2004 Champions Trophy, Pakistan had beaten India by three wickets at Edgbaston in September.

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