March 10, 2003

Inzamam quits while Waqar vows to carry on

Inzamam-ul-Haq on Monday stepped down as Pakistan vice-captain but skipper Waqar Younis vowed to carry on, saying his captaincy alone cannot be blamed for the team's failure in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.

"I let the country down with my lacklustre performance. I feel I have to shoulder some of the responsibility and consequently have decided to step down as vice-captain. Now my objective is to concentrate on my batting, regain confidence for future assignments.

"I, as senior professional, will, nevertheless, be available for guidance, support and advice if required", Inzamam told a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Waqar said the entire team failed to rise to the occasion.

"It would be unjustified if only the captaincy is blamed. I think we didn't bat and bowl as well as we should have. Overall, the team's performance was below-par and we have no excuses to offer", he said.

Waqar added: "We have let the nation down but now we have to repair the damage".

On his captaincy, Waqar said it was up to the selectors and cricket administrators as to what they thought about his future. "It's entirely on them but I think my performance over the last couple of years has been good if not excellent. I have finished second best (in terms of wickets) if not the leading wicket-taker".

Inzamam said it was time that a youngster takes over the job of vice-captaincy. "When we talk about rebuilding the team, captaincy also comes into it. And I think it is time that a youngster is given the job so that he learns the art of leading the team before he is handed over the big job".

Waqar, Inzamam and team manager Shaharyar Khan, in their opening statements, tendered public apologies for their failures. "We are apologetic and sorry for not living up to expectations. But we tried very hard. We wouldn't blame anyone except ourselves. We were beaten fair and square by teams who were better than us," they said.

Shaharyar Khan believed a wrong hype was created before the commencement of the tournament. "I believe we were wrongly labeled as favourites. We didn't realise that the team had been on a losing streak and not doing well prior to the World Cup. Secondly, we had ageing super-stars who were not the same force as they used to be about four years ago. Unfortunately, the players on whom our future lay, also failed to rise to the occasion".

The manager believed that the team needed cricketing discipline to compete at international level. "We were beaten fair and square in the World Cup purely because we lacked in running between the wickets, our bowlers conceded too many extra runs, we didn't know how to improve our net run-rates against weak teams (like Namibia and Holland). These cricketing disciplines should be addressed by the Pakistan Cricket Board", said Khan, who previously went to India as manager of the Pakistan team in 1998.

Shaharyar advised the PCB to groom youngsters between the age of 10 to 16 years in its cricket academies so that Pakistan could again compete against the top teams like Australia and South Africa in future.

Samiul Hasan
General Manager - Media
Mobile + 92 300 8424 389
10 March 2003

Comments