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Lawson counts on Pakistan pace

New Pakistan cricket coach Geoff Lawson said his newly fit fast bowlers can give his team an edge at next month's inaugural World Twenty20 Championship.

Lawson was speaking before his squad's departure for a four nation Twenty20 tournament in Kenya, from where they will fly to South Africa for the championship, which starts from 11 September.

"Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul are simultaneously fit and available for the first time since they came together and despite the popular perception that the format is skewed heavily in favour of batsmen, pace might make a difference," Lawson told AFP.

Former Australian fast bowler Lawson last week formally replaced one time England batsman Bob Woolmer, who died in his hotel room in March when Pakistan flopped in the 50 over World Cup.

Lawson said that Pakistan would also need some luck this time.

"We have some explosive players but I think everyone understands that luck will play some part in Twenty20. Everyone wants to win and to do so, any side will need an element of luck," Lawson said.

Pakistan open their Twenty20 campaign against Scotland on 12 September at Durban before facing India at the same venue two days later. They have extensively prepared for the event with three training camps.

"We can prepare strategies, try and find the right balances, work out plans and play any number of practice games but that can only take you so far. Until the first match happens, we won't really know what to expect," Lawson said.

"We've got an excellent opportunity to play some matches in Kenya now and fine tune our plans and get our combinations right," he said of the Kenya event also featuring the hosts, Bangladesh and Uganda.

Lawson praised young captain Shoaib Malik, saying he has learned strategies for playing Twenty20 games from domestic competitions.

Malik said Pakistan needed to be consistent in the "unpredictable" format.

"You have to bat well, bowl well and field well to force a win and I think we are capable of doing that," said Malik, who took over from Inzamam-ul Haq after the World Cup in the Caribbean.

"We have three explosive players in opener Imran Nazir, all-rounder Shahid Afridi and paceman Akhtar who can change the complexion within a few minutes so I am quite hopeful of doing well in the competition," said Malik.

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