April 3, 2001

Team morale cause of defeat: Miandad, Aizazuddin

Muhammad Yaqoob

Manager Faqir Aizazuddin and coach Javed Miandad have attributed the cause of Pakistan's dismal performance in New Zealand to the decline of the team's morale.

However, the stand-in captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, disagreed with the opinion of the officials and claimed that the setback was due to injuries to the key-players. Inzamam had to lead the team in the third and final Test at Hamilton in which Pakistan suffered a humiliating defeat.

The officials were speaking to newsmen on arrival at Lahore airport on Monday afternoon. The Pakistan team lost the one-day international series against New Zealand 2-3 and drew the three-Test rubber 1-1.

Aizazuddin said that obviously the innings defeat in the third Test had a very negative impact on the minds of the players.

"What a pity as the team looked strong on paper, but the players failed to deliver at crucial stages of the important matches of the tour", said Miandad.

Inzamam while admitting that the team had failed to live up to the expectations of the nation added that the lost confidence would soon be restored.

The coach and manager both agreed that the injuries to some important players were also a major cause of the team's poor performance against the Kiwis.

Responding to queries concerning groupings among the team members and dissent Inzaman dismissed these allegations as a part of a disinformation campaign launched by "vested interests".

The manager said that return of Wasim Akram to Pakistan was a great loss for the touring party and injuries to Saeed Anwar, Abdur Razzaq and Mohammad Sami multiplied our "woes".

Talking about the positive aspects of the tour, the three officials said that the performance of the youngsters was "heart-warming" and that augurs well for the future of Pakistan cricket.

Except for off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq all the members of the team have reached Pakistan.