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April 16, 2004
This was a day as historic for India as it was disappointing for Pakistan, and predictably it led to a chaotic and emotional press conference, attended by Inzamam-ul-Haq and Javed Miandad. All manner of speculation on Shoaib Akhtar's injury, his disruptive influence in the team, the ineffectiveness of the bowling, the poor fitness levels of the team and everybody's favourite chestnut, the need for specialist coaches came in for questioning.
On the series defeat
After Multan we came back well to win at Lahore where, for the first time, the bowlers performed close to their potential. But injuries to our bowlers really wreaked havoc with the line-up. Umar Gul's loss in particular was a crucial blow.
On the non-performance of big players and the line-up for Pindi
If a player does not perform he should not be playing for the Pakistan team. It is as simple as that. I wanted to change the team for this game but in the end I had no choice at all, because there were so many injuries. Even some of the players in the team were not 100% fit. Changing the bowling attack made the difference for us.
On the bowling
Our bowlers didn't perform at all and they have been generally poor throughout the series. We had bowling pitches to help us but to let the Indians pile up 600 runs on this track was a very poor effort. No bowler could take more than 7 wickets over the series for us. Bowlers win you Test matches and it just didn't happen for us here.
On the excessive injuries
There were too many injuries in the camp for such a crucial series, and the bowling attack was never settled at all. It is worrying that our fitness has been so poor and I have identified this before and do so again now - we simply have to work hard and concentrate on this aspect.
On the batting in Pindi
It just wasn't very good. We should have been much more responsible. Even though the ball was seaming around on the first day, we could have scored above 300 if we had batted a bit more cautiously .
On the pitches
The pitches that offered some help to the bowlers, as the Indians showed, throughout the Test series. We just didn't bowl well on them. We all believed that the bowling was our strength and even the media hyped our attack up.
On Shoaib Akhtar's injury and differences between him and Inzamam
There is nothing wrong between us, but I was also surprised at the way he batted today.
On Shoaib Akhtar's alleged phone call to Rashid Latif regarding differences with Inzamam
If something like this has happened then we will take action against it. This sort of behaviour can cause disruption within the team. I think this series has highlighted the lack of professionalism in our side and action will be taken against something like this. There will be an inquiry into the matter and action will be taken.
On reports that the team doctor was not happy with the excessive bowling in the nets
There were contradictory reports about this but I will say one thing. Over the last two or three series none of my fast bowlers have been able to complete a whole series. They keep breaking down at some point. And there was a big fuss everywhere about the number of no-balls and wides that they were bowling in the one-day series. Now if I am not going to fix that during the nets then when I am going to do it? In their rooms while they are sleeping?
On his alleged statement about Irfan Pathan
I denied it at the press conference in Karachi [before the first one-dayer] and I am doing so now again. I never made any such statement.
On the bowling
Most of the frontline bowlers have been performing well for us until recently. They just didn't perform well enough here.
On the lack of strategy and planning
Of course we always plan before we play a match and we keep to a strategy. But every player knows what type of wicket he is playing on and what he should do to benefit from that wicket, as a bowler or as a batsman. They are all Test players with a fair bit of experience now, and to tell them how to play all the time should not be necessary. We had a plan for Lahore and we went out and executed it well; in Multan and Pindi we didn't. We just didn't perform as well as we are capable of in any department.
On the batting throughout the series
No one, and especially the media, expected our batting to do well, but it performed better than the bowling. Mostly the batting was okay - obviously when you are facing totals of 600-plus then the pressure plays a big factor and so we failed a couple of times.
On the opening partnership and Imran Nazir's non-inclusion
I don't think Taufeeq Umar and Imran Farhat had that bad a series. Imran [Farhat] got a century so you couldn't keep him out of the team and even Taufeeq looked good on a couple of occasions before getting out. Imran [Nazir] is still in our broader plans, obviously. Neither I nor Inzamam can exclude him from the team - if he performs, he will come in and if he doesn't then his performance will take him out of the team.
On comparing this Indian team to past teams
Past Indian teams have also been very good. But this team has played together for a couple of years and is doing really well now. They have a very mature batting line-up and their bowling, which sometimes let them down in the past, is now much better. They have six or seven batsmen who average over 50 in Test cricket so that says a lot about their team. They are not invincible but they are very good. Their attitude is good, but a true marker of any team's attitude is when they are losing or not doing well.
On specialist coaches
This is a matter for the board but I have no problem with it at all.
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