It is said that with victories of the present the failures of the past must be put into the freezer and forgotten but some how it is not possible. The statisticians producing your performance graphs in the press periodically, would never let you wriggle out of your failures. Since history can not be obliterated the records are there for all times to come. Defeats which are a part of the game must be used for learning lessons alongwith deriving incentive and inspiration from them and not for moaning. This is what the Pakistan cricket team has precisely done.

After a series of defeats by Sri Lanka in tests as well as one-day internationals at home, Pakistan landed at Sharjah with low spirits, a shattered morale and a bunch of walking wounded players. Since the team was basically talented, it was successful in restoring its form, fitness and morale pretty quick. The team succeeded in turning the nation's disappointment of defeats into the feelings of joy by clinching the coveted Coca-Cola trophy after defeating the indomitable South Africa twice. With its head high on account of the newly acquired champion status the team hopped over to the Caribbeans to participate in the Wireless and Cable International Limited Overs Trophy 2000, alongwith Zimbabwe and the hosts West Indies. The tournament was first of its kind staged in the Caribbeans.

The Pakistan team started the competition with fluctuating fortunes, winning the two preliminary round matches against Zimbabwe but losing against the West Indies. Zimbabwe having met the disaster of losing all the four matches were eliminated, leaving Pakistan and the West Indies to play the best of three finals.

The preliminary round having provided a clear exhibition of the two teams, the real battle for the Trophy commence a when they were pitched against each other for the first final at the picturesque Kensington Oval, Bridgetown.

It is surprising that throughout the series, the pitches were prepared to help the batsmen, but the matches generally remained low scoring.

Bating first Pakistan scored 197 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. With an exciting knock of 66 Inzamam-ul-Haq, established himself not only the most consistent but also the most enterprising player in the team. Wasim Akram also played a gallant inning of 42 not out in 36 balls. Considering the strength and performance of the opponents, the target of 198 runs was a moderate one.

Pakistan's highly projected bowling arsenal had to prove its mettle, which it did admirably well. With the West Indies at 94 for the loss of one wicket, 99 for 2 and 123 for 6, they lost 5 wickets in a span of 24 runs. Although the West Indies gave a lot of anxious moments to Pakistan, our bowlers were able to oust them for 180, thus winning the match by 17 runs. They fought till the last moment but it was the Pakistan's day. The fleet of our bowlers deserved the credit for keeping the opponents in check, Inzamam and Wasim Akram stood out for excellent batting and Shahid Afridi for capturing 3 wickets and establishing himself as a useful stock bowler. By winning the first final, Pakistan taken highly so far, posed a challenge to the West Indies to be on its toes.

The 2nd final at the Port of Spain was also an exciting affair through which the West Indies leveled the series by achieving 60 runs triumph over Pakistan. The West Indies piled up a good total of 208 runs with Sherwin Campbell being the highest scorer with 77.

Keeping in view the form of our players and overall performance of the team, the target of 209 runs for a straight championship victory was not a massive one. The boys were only required to apply themselves with proper concentration, which they did not. The very approach to the game was lopsided. Instead of making a steady start, the batsmen resorted to hitting all over the ground. It was a highly careless display of batting resulting in, Pakistan losing 4 wickets for 79 runs, 6 for 98 and the remaining falling after regular intervals. The whole team was out for 148 runs in 45 overs. Pakistan lost by 60 runs, the defeat being of its own making.

After winning a final each, the two sides took the field for the 3rd and decisive battle, on whose result rested the award of the championship trophy. To our good luck it was the Pakistan's day again on which our team gave a highly admirable performance.

This being the most important match of the championship, the Queens Park Oval was full to brim with the crowd cheering and chanting for its own team, not knowing what the nature had in store for them. Having won the toss again, the hosts decided to bat, offering Pakistan to chase the target, the task that our team always detested.

With a steady beginning, the West Indies secured an opening stand of 61 runs but were unlucky to lose both the openers one after the other. At the score of 71, leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed who had at one time been discarded by our selectors struck like lightening. With his guile that baffled them, he dispatched three of the batsmen Wavell Hinds, Ricardo Powell and Ridley Jacobs to the pavilion in one over. The West Indies had lost half the side for 71 runs. The rest of the damage done by Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq, the West Indies were all out for 114 runs, the lowest score at the Queen's Park Oval. By capturing 4 wickets for 22 runs through his magical 8 overs, Mushtaq proved the gem of a bowler. He opened the eyes of the PCB that thought, "he would not last till the World Cup 2000".

No doubt, Mushy's spell was a sensational one; the West Indies also batted recklessly. The target of 115 runs to clinch the trophy was the one that any team would dream off but the Pakistan team did not achieve it easily. With the score board displaying 19 for 3, Pakistan had taken a dismal start. The wickets were lost on account of careless batting.

With Inzamam-ul-Haq's arrival at the crease, all eyes were focussed on him. Being the Pakistan's most shining star of this tournament, he could be trusted to take the side to the victory stand. Despite the West Indies bowlers maintaining a very tight line, he played the masterly role of holding the crease as well as keeping the score board moving. The pitch having turned so difficult for batting that at one stage a young and energetic batsman like Younis Khan was able to score only 6 runs in 33 balls.

Over-powered by the psychological barrier created by the target-chasing syndrome, our batsmen were not in command of the situation. Although chasing a small target, they looked like caught in a mousetrap. They achieved the target in 45 overs but without as iota of brilliance in their batting. Had Inzamam not played a masterly innings of 39 not out and Wasim Akram not held the crease for more than ten overs to score 10 runs in 45 balls, the result might have been different.

Although victories are achieved on account of a team effort, but some players stand out for their brilliance. The credit for this marvelous victory must be given to Inzamam, Mushtaq and Wasim Akram. The first two have been very rightly honored by the organizers. All said and done, the team deserves congratulations for this magnificent triumph.