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Emotional Inzamam hits back

In his first press conference since arriving back in Pakistan, Inzamam-ul-Haq has reacted angrily to the way his team has been treated by the media. He again apologised for their early exit from the World Cup but said the constant criticism the players received made life very difficult.
"If the media and people keep on criticising the team, I am sure we can't win any big tournaments," Inzamam said. "Fear of losing always follow our players and it puts them under lot of pressure."

Pakistan crashed out of the World Cup after defeats to West Indies and the shock three-wicket loss against Ireland in Jamaica. It had been widely expected that Inzamam would stand down from the one-day team following the tournament but the manner of abuse he has suffered has left him feeling shocked.

The press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium was a heated, fractious affair as Inzamam defended his years of service to Pakistan cricket. "Wasn't I a citizen of Pakistan? Didn't I serve this country for 17 years? Is this what I deserved?" he said, visibly upset at some of the questions.

He also hit back at the match-fixing claims which have circulated following the defeats and subsequent murder of Bob Woolmer. Inzamam said it was "unfair" to talk about match-fixing after the defeat to Ireland and added: "The team over the past three-and-a-half years had been playing and winning matches. There were no such comments. Now they are spreading such rumours."

He went on to question the quality of the Sabina Park pitch for the Irish game. "The wicket was very difficult for batting. It was a green-top pitch. I had never seen such a wicket in the World Cup. The match became dependent on the toss. Unfortunately we lost the toss and Ireland used it to their full benefit."

However, despite all the recent traumas Inzamam reiterated his desire to extend playing Tests even though Pakistan's next commitments are six months away. "If the selectors give me a chance, I am willing to play Test matches because I think age is no barrier in Pakistan cricket," he said. "All I wish is that my Test career ends on a happier note than my one-day career."