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Pakistan v India, 1st Test, Lahore, 5th day

'I am a captain not a groundsman' - Inzamam

Osman Samiuddin

January 17, 2006

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The flat pitch left Inzamam-ul-Haq helpless © Getty Images
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Over eleven hundred runs scored, only eight wickets taken and over half the number of scheduled overs lost to rain and bad light; only two subjects were ever going to be talked about at Inzamam-ul-Haq's post-match press conference - the pitch and the weather.

Inzamam denied rumours that Pakistan's batsmen had asked for a flat pitch. "I always want to have sporting wickets, where fast bowlers, spinners and batsmen all have a chance," he said. "In today's Test matches, it's not just that one team scores 400, another team scores 400 and the match is drawn. ODI cricket and the pace means that batting is so quick, if you get 90 overs in a day then there shouldn't be draws. The wicket has to be better than this."

But Inzamam was also quick to point out that the pitch shouldn't take any credit away from the batsmen, six of whom scored centuries and three of whom did it at more than a run a ball. "On this type of wicket, it is difficult to contain run-making but the credit should go to the batsmen as well because even though it was so flat, they have to bat well and score runs." But he insisted that batsmen won't have it this easy in the remaining Tests. "They will have some confidence definitely but I don't think a wicket like this will be seen again for this series."

He also pointed out that his bowlers didn't perform as well as they might have done, although it is unlikely changes will be made. "The wicket wasn't so flat that over 400 runs are scored for the loss of only one wicket, the bowlers will also have to bowl a little better than this. We will keep the same team for Faisalabad. " Ultimately, however, too many questions - most of them not dissimilar - prompted Inzamam to reveal that "I am a captain not a groundsman."

As both teams now make the short journey to Faisalabad, Inzamam said his bowlers will take their pre-series confidence with them, despite the hammering they received here, but also hinted that the weather may yet continue to play its part. "The weather was a disturbance obviously and Faisalabad isn't too far away so there is a chance of disruption there as well. There were so many stoppages here that we weren't getting any rhythm but I don't think there will be any effect on the confidence or morale."

He also had praise for Virender Sehwag, although typically, it was brief and to the point. Pakistan have yet to find a way to mute Sehwag's boisterousness and he has now made over a thousand Test runs against them, including a triple century and two double centuries in consecutive Tests. "We have tried to find ways of stopping him, but it isn't working. If a batsman like him gets a wicket like this, then it is difficult to contain him."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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