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May 31, 2000
Karachi , May 30: Pakistan captain Moin Khan rued missed chances on the final day of the third Test against the West Indies but despite failing to make history, praised his team for a great performance.
"No one (umpires) but we are responsible for failing to deliver the killing blow. We had our chances but failed to grab them.
"But hats off to all the members of the team, specially Wasim Akram, who performed splendidly in situations which were very demanding and tough," Moin told Dawn from St John's, Antigua, on telephone as he prepared to proceed to Dhaka for the Asia Cup.
Pakistan missed two certain run-out opportunities and were also denied at least a couple of clear catching decisions by both the umpires as the West Indies achieved the victory target of 216 with one wicket to spare. The last pair of Jimmy Adams and Courtney Walsh added 19 runs to help the West Indies retain their unblemish record against Pakistan.
"It was a tense and high pressure game. The teams made mistakes, so did the umpires," he said, while referring to suicidal single calls by Jimmy Adams and Courtney Walsh respectively which were wasted by Saqlain Mushtaq who fumbled the ball on both the occasions.
"I am bound by the International Cricket Council (ICC) code of conduct but its for all of you to decide if we got a raw deal (from the umpires). As far as I am concerned, they did a good job and in the end we are ourselves to be blamed for the defeat."
Moin Khan was bidding to become the first captain to win a Test series in the West Indies.
"Of course, it is very depressing not to have won the Test but it is part of the game. The charm of this sport lies in thrill and sensation which was provided by both the teams.
"In the end, I believe it was Test cricket which was the winner because in the recent times, one-day cricket has pushed the five-day cricket into a corner. I am sure with more results as close as this one would help Test cricket regain its thrill and attraction," Moin said.
The wicket-keeper said it was the most gripping and close Test he had been involved in. "Of course Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmad were part of the team which beat Australia by one wicket six years ago. But I have never been engaged in such a dramatic match in which fortunes swung either way."
While praising the efforts of Wasim Akram, Moin Khan said: "It has been a very difficult phase for him coming into the Test. But he showed that he is a great fighter and gave to the team whatever he had. Eleven wickets in a match is by no means a mean achievement.
"He, like every other member of the team, was dejected. But they have been told that the team and the country are proud of their performances," Moin said.
While analysing the series, he said the top order didn't perform according to its merit. "It should not be forgotten that they were inexperienced and barring Mohammad Wasim, who played here with the Pakistan Under-19, the other three were here for the first time. While the most experienced batsmen have to bat out of their skin to tackle bowlers like Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, they were newcomers to international cricket."
Younis Khan and Wajahatullah Wasti miserably failed to put bat to the ball while Imran Nazir played just one significant innings in his four visits to the centre. Mohammad Wasim's top score was 82 in the second Test during which he put on 219 for the first wicket with Imran Nazir.
"Nevertheless, I am glad that Inzamam-ul-Haq realized his responsibility and Yousuf Youhana came out of age to hold the innings together."