'A boost to the nation' - Mohsin
Mohsin Khan, the Pakistan interim coach, has said the three-day win over England was a major "boost to the nation" after a period marred by controversy, chiefly the spot-fixing scandal.
"There have been well documented and unwanted activities involving former Pakistani cricketers a couple of years ago which spoilt the name of Pakistan cricket and gave the nation of Pakistan a bad name," Mohsin told PakPassion.net. "Our aim was to turn that around, and to provide a boost to the nation and fans of Pakistan cricket, and to show the world that there is more to Pakistan cricket than just negatives. Cricket is not just a game in Pakistan; it's a way of life, it's a passion and the people adore cricket in Pakistan. So for that reason I feel the win today was a gift for the people of Pakistan.
"The Pakistan Cricket Board is working tirelessly to improve the image of Pakistan cricket and to bring normality back to Pakistan cricket. Likewise this group of players can play an important role in improving the image of Pakistan cricket, by playing tough cricket and winning consistently and therefore showing the world that Pakistani cricketers are among the best in the world and that Pakistan is amongst the best teams in the world."
Pakistan won by 10 wickets, skittling England out for 192 and 160. They picked up five wickets in the first session of the first day, and Mohsin said that played a decisive role. "We were pleased when England decided to bat first as we knew there would be something in the pitch for our bowlers, particularly in the first hour due to the moisture. Our plan was to create early pressure in the first session and to take full advantage of the conditions, and that worked to our satisfaction. We had an early grip on the game and I told the boys to not let that advantage go and to maintain that pressure and not ease up at all. The first session was ultimately pivotal in the outcome of the match."
England had few answers against offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who was Man of the Match for bagging 10 wickets. Mohsin dismissed questions raised in some quarters about his action. "I'm not worried about the comments regarding Ajmal's action and neither is Saeed. You do find some people in the media who try to create a few unwanted things which should be kept away from cricket, but then again when we came to the UAE there were questions from some of the media directed to Misbah and myself about the issues in 2010 in England.
"Our response was simple and was that we are just here to play good positive cricket and nothing more than that."
The second Test will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 25. "Shortly after the match finished today we had a team meeting where we all discussed the importance of not being complacent and maintaining our focus for the second Test match in Abu Dhabi," Mohsin said.