Pakistani team members congratulating Indian team after their win against Pakistan in World Cup semi final in Mohali.
The Pakistan team will be welcomed back as heroes when they return home later this week after being defeated by India in the semifinals.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will host a reception for the team at his residence in Islamabad while there are many who say they will go to receive their heroes. There is little talk of disappointment. Even President Asif Ali Zardari lauded the team's efforts in his lunch meeting with Gilani on Thursday.
Gilani briefed the President on his visit to Mohali and Zardari said both teams played well. It is expected that the Prime Minister will announce some reward for the team.
Despite the goodwill, there is a feeling of disappointment caused by the team's poor fielding on Wednesday. News reports here said that 'frenzied fans' broke TV sets in Rawalpindi after the team's defeat.
Senior sports writer, Khalid Husain, said that Pakistan had paid the price for dropping Sachin Tendulkar's catch four times. He also blamed Misbah ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Akmal brothers ---- Kamran and Umar --- and Umar Gul for not playing to potential. Former captain Imran Khan too said the fielding "was so poor, it was unbecoming of a national cricket team".
Surprisingly, there were no protests or violence on the streets. Another senior writer, Muhammad Umar, said that, though everyone went home a little sad, but the performance of the team had provided the Pakistanis with something to look forward to in the days to come. "In a country where there is bad news everyday, this was a break from the ordinary," said Umar.