Australia won the NatWest Trophy because it was the best team, by far, in the tournament and in the process put to rest the theory that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Australia came to the final in no mood to give any space to Pakistan and closed in from the start and never let go.

This Australian team does not have a single weakness and is a welloiled machine. Steve Waugh is the most ruthless captain and this is meant to be in praise of him. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that he is the boss. He did not hesitate for a minute and led his team off at the first sign of crowd trouble at Trent Bridge and then again when someone threw a beer can during the presentation ceremony at Lord's.

Naturally, I am disappointed that Pakistan did not win but realistically, I did not expect them to though one expected that Pakistan would make a tighter fist of the match instead of just rolling over. The final was the same mismatch as the World Cup final in 1999, the same opponents, the same venue, the same high hopes of the Pakistan supporters and the same let-down.

Waqar Younis did enough on the tour to justify his appointment as captain. As tours go, there were no reports of discord among players or confrontation with the management. In all respect, it was a happy tour and one hopes that this will be the pattern of future tours. The key lies in clearly spelling out who the supremo is. Yawar Saeed, obviously, stayed behind the scenes but was effective in a low-profile way. Richard Pybus strictly minded his business which was to coach the team and Waqar did not have to look over his shoulder.

But mistakes were made in team selection, starting with the Lord's Test match where five seamers were played and Saqlain Mushtaq left out. Imran Nazir did not play a single match in the NatWest tournament though he managed to field in all of them. If he wasn't wanted, it might have been a good idea to have sent him to Sri Lanka. He is not likely to improve sitting in the dressing-room.

That Saleem Elahi was preferred over Shahid Afridi in the final is a decision that has mystified me. With Steve Waugh employing "umbrella" fields and Elahi markedly vulnerable to the ball pitched in the corridor of uncertainty, he was the rabbit caught in the headlights. His dismissal could have been foretold as well as the manner of it. Afridi may not have lasted longer but with him one never knows. He would have chanced his arm and may have got a rapid thirty or forty and given Pakistan some sort of a start. Besides, he is a utility cricketer and his bowling would have come in handy and he is a far better fielder than Elahi.

Besides Pakistan went into the final with only five bowlers, one of them, Wasim Akram was not hundred percent fit. The Australians won with such consummate ease that none of this seem to matter. But it would have, had it been a tighter contest.

The leg-before decision against Inzamamul Haq was patently disgraceful and he stood at the wicket, not to show dissent but to show disbelief. The match referee, a New Zealander, has given him a two-match suspension. It would have been far more just had the umpire, Peter Willey, received the suspension for gross incompetence. The match referee should have taken into account that it was the same umpire, Willey, who had given Inzamam caught behind in Pakistan's second innings in the Lord's Test, an equally shameful decision.

It has been constantly stressed, to the point of ad nauseum, that umpires are human. That they are in more ways than just making a mistake. An umpire can have his likes and dislikes of a particularly team and there was the report of an English umpire who had been overheard in a pub in 1992 that he did not like Pakis.

The presentation ceremony was marred when someone threw a full beer can into the balcony where the teams were lined up. It grazed Michael Bevan but narrowly missed Inzamam. I think it was a "to whom it may concern" beer can and the target was not an Australian player.

Yet so much adverse publicity has been given to pitch invasions by Pakistani supporters, it was assumed that the beer can had been thrown by a Pakistani. Televisions shots of police and stewards mixing it up with Pakistanis seemed to confirm it. Prima facie, it has been the Pakistani supporters who have misbehaved but the book should not be closed. The police would do well to investigate whether professional trouble-makers were behind the rowdyism. During a One-day International at Edgbaston in 1987, a riot had erupted in one of the stands and a Pakistani supporter had nearly had his throat slit by flying, broken glass. There was overwhelming evidence that the National Front had instigated that riot.

It's been a good tour for Pakistan despite the fact that it had been ill-planed, coming as it did at the wrong time of the year and, as if, to add insult to injury, the Test series was confined to two Test matches despite Pakistan having won the previous Test series in England in 1987, 1992 and 1996 decisively.

Many weak areas were exposed and Pakistan has to do much rebuilding. The World Cup 2003 may be an objective but we must not forget that there is a lot of cricket to be played before then and a lot of cricket to be played after it. We cannot make the World Cup 2003 the be-all and end-all of our planning. Wasim and Waqar may have played their last international match in England but the world's a big place and there are other countries besides England.