Hong Kong trio Mohammed Zubair, Saleem Malik and Tabarak Dar have returned from a two-week stint at the Australian Cricket Academy saying they felt like new men having 'never experienced anything like this before'. Fast bowler Zubair, batsman Malik and all-rounder Dar were sent by the Hong Kong Cricket Association to the elite college in Adelaide for intensive training in preparation for next month's ICC Trophy in Canada. And all three players yesterday said they had benefited from the visit. 'The only problem was that the time was short and it passed very quickly. It was only 15 days, but we all know that the visit has helped us,' said Dar. Most encouragingly for Hong Kong, key strike bowler Zubair says he is back in the swing of things. 'I was averaging speeds of 135 kilometres per hour. I was bowling one or two yards faster and also getting my line right. It has been great as I have never had this kind of training before in my life,' said Zubair. Zubair, the fastest bowler in town, struggled to find his rhythm during November's ACC Trophy in Sharjah. Wides and no balls were coming thick and fast, and although he gamely took four wickets in the final against the United Arab Emirates, there was plenty of concern over his fitness and loss of form. When the elite Australian Academy - the fount of budding Test players in the country - got in touch with the HKCA asking if they would be interested in sending over a couple of players for a short but intensive training session, the local body jumped at the opportunity. They nominated Zubair and Dar, and on their own steam sent Malik too. 'We were fully focused on cricket for 15 days. For 12 hours a day, from seven in the morning to seven at night, we were involved with something to do with the game,' said Dar. Early morning beach runs, gym training, skill work, pool recovery sessions, video sessions and discussions to strengthen the mental approach were part of the daily regime. Malik said: 'I feel like a new man. I know I'm fitter and I feel very confident. My main focus was on my batting and they did a little bit of adjustment to my stance. Our coach Wayne Philips gave me a lot of tips. But what I think benefited me most is that my mental game has been improved.' 'When we arrived, they videotaped us playing. And at the end, they did it again. We could see for ourselves, how much difference there was,' said Dar. He added: 'In Hong Kong, we don't get this sort of intensive training. We normally train in the evening after work and we bat or bowl for a few minutes. This is the first time that we have experienced anything like this where we lived cricket.' Fit and motivated, the trio will now join the rest of the SAR squad as they move up a gear in the build-up for the ICC Trophy which begins on June 28. Hong Kong are the top-seeded Asian side in the 24-nation tournament for associate members. The top three teams will qualify for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.