Pakistan v India, 1st Test, Multan, 5th day

'We should look at our own weaknesses'

Osman Samiuddin

April 1, 2004

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After bowing to the inevitable 12 balls into the fifth day's play, Pakistan will, yet again, retreat to the drawing board to see how they will bounce back for the second Test at Lahore. At the post-match press conference, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Haroon Rashid, the manager, identified what went wrong and how it will be rectified for the next Test:

On confidence following the first-Test defeat
The first match was very important. We couldn't perform well at all and the team is very down at the moment. The Indians are on a high as they have won the one-day series and now the Test match as well. We have to work very hard to come back and iron out the weaknesses that were so apparent in this game.

On relying on individual stars
They are stars because they do perform, so we need them to do well from now onwards. Our main strength is our bowling and we didn't bowl well throughout the match. The pitch was criticised a lot but I have played here for 12-13 years and the pitches haven't been much different here. We have won games on pitches like these before and if we had bowled like the Indians did, we could have done well.

On changes for the next Test
Obviously, after this sort of performance, changes will be made. Those guys who didn't perform will be looked at.

On the team's lack of commitment
We have not lacked commitment or effort throughout the series. Only two or three matches ago, the same newspapers were saying that the team was looking settled and impressive. Don't say that we are not making the effort, because all the boys are working very hard, it is just that we are unable to deliver at the moment. The bowling hasn't clicked and it has caused us problems.

On batting responsibly
We didn't take any responsibility in our batting second time around. I don't believe that we should have just tried to hang around and defend, we should've continued to play positively, just with some common sense. If we had just defended and not scored then the bowlers would have really jumped on us. But in the second innings our batsmen really let us down, on a pitch where batting for a day and a half is really not a problem. We could have scored another 400 runs in the second innings.

On the fielding problems and dropped catches
Yes, they played a part obviously, but even given the dropped chances, there is no way we should have let them score nearly 700. We bowled poorly and let them get that many. The fielding has to be worked on, but after the bowling performance in the one-dayers and the Test, I think we need to look at that harder.

On a lack of bowling options
We do have some back-up in the shape of Umar Gul, but we don't lack options. On previous tours and series, it is this very attack that has bowled so well and won us matches and so we need to persevere with them.

On Saqlain Mushtaq
We played Saqlain on the basis of his track record and experience. He couldn't perform well and obviously it means other players can be tried as well.

On the teams' weaknesses and strengths
India's batting has been traditionally strong, and our bowling has been for years our main strength. Having played for so long here, I have never seen a greentop here, but we should not become obsessed by the wickets. We should look at our own weaknesses and try and eliminate them.

On the lack of crowds
The stadium is really far from the town, and the security so tight that it might have put off the crowds. Plus one-dayers are so popular here and Test matches generally less so.

On bowling coaches
I don't believe that they are necessary. If international bowlers need help for no-balls and wide balls then that is strange. We have won with this very coach in the past recently. We just need to look at what we did wrong and take it from there.

On problems with past and present selection committees
I didn't have any problems with the previous selection committee and neither do I have one with the present one. Whatever I have asked for in terms of personnel I have got.

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Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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Players/Officials: Haroon Rasheed | Inzamam-ul-Haq
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Teams: India | Pakistan
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