England v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, The Oval September 17, 2010

'It's the win that we needed' - Waqar

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Pakistan's coach, Waqar Younis, admitted that their series-salvaging victory in the third ODI against England was the result that his team needed as they enter the final week of a long, fraught and controversial tour. Having been faced with the prospect of a 3-0 scoreline and two dead-rubber matches at Lord's and the Rose Bowl, an uplifted squad has been imbued with renewed optimism.

"After the two losses, we really needed something like this," said Waqar. "The series is still alive, and this gives us the incentive that we can come back and maybe win the series now. It's been a really tough tour on the field and off it, so we're pretty pleased to be back in this one-day series, but there's still plenty of work to be done."

Pakistan's victory came on the day that Scotland Yard's investigators passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, as the spot-fixing controversy prepared to move forward to its next phase after several destabilising weeks in which the team has been deprived of the services, through suspension, of three of its key players, including both new-ball bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif.

Waqar denied any knowledge of this latest turn of events, and insisted that the squad had been fully focussed on its cricket, and that seemed self-evident from the performance of Umar Gul, the most influential seamer still within the Pakistan camp. He produced a performance of irresistible full-length reverse-swing to rout England's lower-order and deliver victory with his career-best figures of 6 for 42.

"The way Umar bowled was outstanding," said Waqar. "[After making 241], there was no way for us to bowl 50 overs and win this game. Our only chance was to bowl the English team out - and we've done that. Shoaib Akhtar was important too, because we really needed early wickets, but this wasn't a fluke. The boys really played well in a team effort, and the entire thing was what we needed."

Gul's performance was his finest in England since the World Twenty20 in 2009, when he once again starred on this ground with the remarkable figures of 5 for 6 against New Zealand. On that occasion, Daniel Vettori cast aspersions on the legitimacy of his performance, a suggestion that had caused Waqar to react with fury. There was no need for such a strident defence of his efforts on this occasion, as England knew they had been beaten fair and square.

"One big reason for his reverse swing is that he's got an action that really helps," said Waqar. "He also does a lot of practice, which really makes him a good reverse-swing bowler, especially at the death with his yorkers because you have to know how to manage them."

One concern for Pakistan as they look ahead to Lord's on Monday was the fitness of their wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal, who took a blow on the ring finger while spilling a low edge off Michael Yardy, and had to be replaced by his brother Umar for the latter stages of the innings. Waqar could not confirm whether he'd suffered a fracture as yet, but remained optimistic at this stage. "He'll go for an x-ray tonight, and we hope he'll be all right," he said.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TimeDESK on September 20, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    belive it or not we indian and pakistani are still living in britishraj. media and icc reaction on broad and zulqarnain case is a slap on our face and it says that only non sub-continent team can do it without any punishment. Sorry but we thanks ICC that they havn't punish zulqarnain. Lucky chap!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on September 20, 2010, 1:47 GMT

    sskris1 i also completely agree with you if that incident done by pakistani player you just see media and icc reaction and nowyou just see media and icc reaction on broad and zulqarnain case may be icc said son weldone next time trow ball on the face we will save you like recent example if wickets falls runs flow automatically slow but media and icc knows that shahid afridi fawad alam and abdul razzak spot fix( bcz these players perfrm well so get rid of them may be life ban is a best option) and icc knows english cricketers are innocent immediately what a joke we are seeing nowadays

  • sskris1 on September 19, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Continuing my first post, even after 63 years of Independence the bashing against each other(Indians - Pakistani's) never stops. I wonder will we ever leave in peace and just enjoy the beautiful game of cricket. Whether one agrees or not there are double standards in International cricket today. Just take the Stuart Broad's incident of throwing the ball at Zulkarnain, who beacuse of this has a broken finger. How was Broad punished, a slap on the wrist.

    I hope all this mess is cleared and we all can get back to cricket.

    May peace be with all.

  • sskris1 on September 19, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    I am an Indian fan and a huge fan of cricket (especially Test match cricket). This i my first post, but have been reading all the comments here. We were blessed to have the likes of Sachin, Drvaid, Dada, Laxman, Sehwag in the batting department but can never make such claims with our bowling. Having said that, there is no other sight as beautiful as a fast bowler steaming in and rattling the stumps like Gul did in this 3-ODI against England. When I saw Aamer, who at 18, such a brilliant talent with the ball, I am was just awe struck. I watched pretty much every single Pak vs. Eng test match, just to see this kid bowl. I was disappointed to see the allegations, especially against Aamer, who just started his career. For his sake and for the sake of cricket, I hope he is proven innocent. ICC needs to do something and better be quick. It does seem strange that the English team were so quick. Even when Broad threw the ball at Zulkarnain, he was let go easily. There is double standards.

  • klobania on September 19, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    see this is wat happens when the board like icc is run by bunch of jokers

  • nabeel89 on September 19, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    on one occasion ICC says that they are fully supporting Pakistan team and on the other hand, they don't even consult PCB or the team and goes directly into the investigations. Just because Pakistan won a match means there were something dodgy about it? shouldn't it be the other way round like if the team loses? and shouldn't it be England team then? what's happening to cricket? if it goes on like this, everytime Pakistan wins a match and gives a record breaking or some great performance, there will be an investigation for that.

  • dummy4fb on September 19, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    Anyone in need of publicity may call British tabloids n tell them that he knew what the result of the match would b like... Its gonna b breaking news all around the world... What a joke... I thought English people were professionals n accepted victory n defeat in a good taste... Looks like their police doesn't need to work as newspapers r doing all the investigations themselves... Me n my friends always predict the winner before any match... m afraid it may lead me to police interrogation if my guess ever turns out to b a right one...

  • marsha11 on September 19, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    now english media will start again a compain angaist pakistan as usual,i think ICC need to revise the system(since i feel ICC itself damagind Cricket)

  • dummy4fb on September 19, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    i think icc now is a collection of jokers who looks like no knowlede of cricket just life ban all pakistani team so that corruption in cricket finish forever because it is only pakistani player who fix matches and icc chairman and chief executive knows it with in 24 hours after incidence because they look after each players with private investgators every cricketers in the world are innocent except pakistani cricketers so life ban pakistani cricket so that icc chief and chairman happy and we want that he should be happy

  • Chunati on September 19, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    First, I have to say that I am not a Pakistani. Having said that, it really smells very very fishy. How does the ECB say so quickly that none of its players were involved when England was the team that lost? I am not even suggesting that they were, but why was this opportunity of being innocent until proven guilty not given to the Pakistani players? How could they be so sure about the spot-fixing that ICC had to suspend the 3 Pakistani players after the Lord's test? Isn't the investigation still going on? I do not know if the Pakistani players were involved or not, but why are they being treated differently from the English players? Yes punish them severely, but only after they are proven guilty. ICC is really a very biased and incompetent organization, which should itself be investigated. Who is actually running ICC and for that matter cricinfo? If I were the leader of the Pakistani team I would pull my team out. Such an exciting 3rd ODI is now being tainted. God only knows.

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