Glad that people think I'm the lucky mascot: Intikhab Alam

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MIRPUR: Pakistan's manager Intikhab Alam has been the lucky mascot for his national team. In 1992, when Pakistan won their maiden World Cup in Australia, he was the team manager cum coach.
Again in 2009, when Pakistan won the World Twenty20 Championship, it was Alam, who was team manager. Now in the ongoing World Cup, he is again in the team as the manager. Will he be third-time lucky?
"I don't know. But I am glad that you think that I am the lucky mascot. In the last two occasions, I was fortunate to be with the team that won big titles. Here we are now just two matches away from winning the World Cup. Hope, we do it this time," Alam told TOI on Thursday.
Incidentally, Pakistan are playing the semifinal in Mohali, a familiar territory for Alam. He was coach of the Punjab Ranji Trophy team from 2004 to 2006 and master-minded the team's charge to the final. "It has been a tough job for the team management because of the spate of controversies. But credit must go to the team for fighting against all odds.
Right now, we have set some targets and we want to achieve them at any cost. The good thing is that Pakistan are in the semifinal and it really doesn't matter for us which opposition, we are going to play from here," Alam added.
The Pakistan manager also made it clear that his team has a zero tolerance approach to indisciplined cricketers and it doesn't matter how big the player is. "We have made it clear to the team that discipline is the integral part of our system and if you are a part of the team, you have to follow it," he said, while dropping obvious hints why pacer Shoaib Akhtar was not making it to the playing XI after the face-off with a teammate.
So what is the secret mantra of the Pakistan team? "We are gelling very well. We are talking together, eating together, relaxing together and communicating with every member of the team.
Earlier, communication was a big flaw in this team, but now it's completely different. Players are responding well to all the norms and it's showing on the field," Alam said.
"There is no division in the team. The cricketers respect each other and they are on a mission to win this tournament," he said.
When told that the Pakistanis have always done well when their bowlers had delivered, Alam said: "Bowling is one of our strengths. We have a very balanced attack, be it pace or spin. Even our fielding has improved a lot in this tournament.
The batting department is looking good with every match and I hope they continue to play like this," the Pakistan manager said.
Alam also complimented skipper Shahid Afridi by saying that whenever the leader performs and leads from the front, he gets positive vibes from the team.

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