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Batting failure worrying Latif

Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has attributed the defeat of his new-look team in the final of the recent Bank Alfalah Cup to the failure of his top-order batsmen to click.

india Updated: May 25, 2003 17:05 IST

Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has attributed the defeat of his new-look team in the final of the recent Sri Lankan triseries to the failure of his top order batsmen to click.

"If our top order batting starts clicking and Yousuf Youhana gets in his groove, Pakistan will be strong combination in coming months," he told the media in Karachi after his return from Sri Lankan tour.

Pakistan reached the final of the trination tournament played in Dambulla in Sri Lanka but lost the trophy to New Zealand. Hosts Sri Lanka - the third team in fray - failed to qualify for the final.

Latif said opener Taufiq Umar was tried in two events after the World Cup but was unable to deliver. He said Taufiq can continue as opener in Test matches suggesting that he preferred another opener for the one-day matches.

"I will be putting forward my suggestions to the selection committee but they are the final authority to pick the team," he said adding that despite some deficiencies, he was overall satisfied with the team's showing.

"Boys are showing a great team spirit which is a good sign," he said and expressed his happiness over the performance of his pace quartet of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Shabbir Ahmed and Umar Gul.

Rashid said he was equally impressed with leg-spinner Danish Kaneria and off-spinner cum batsman Shoaib Malik.

Coach Javed Miandad also expressed his happiness with the overall performance of the team in the tri-nation series in Sri Lanka.

"Under difficult conditions in Sri Lanka where the wickets were not batsmen-friendly, the new-look team crossed the 200-run mark once and also scored 199 and 198 and remained equal with other participating teams with two wins in the league matches," Miandad said.

"Playing in the final was also our target and it was not a small feat when the team is going through the rebuilding stage," he said adding that the team had won the tournament in Sharjah and then played the final which indicated that it was on the right track.

Miandad said though the Sri Lankan tour was a tough outing, it had given good practice to the team prior to another challenging series in England next month.

The former skipper did admit that the team made some mistakes which needed to be corrected, specifically conceding 44 extras in the final.

"Yes, some flaws are still there, but they will learn from mistakes and I hope they will not repeat it on the next tour," Miandad said.

On the team's batting, Miandad said the said entire batting order had failed to perform but he declined to blame a specific batsman.

Asked whether senior batsman like Inzamam-ul-Haq would be recalled for the next series against England, Miandad said it was the discretion of the national selection committee.

Commenting on Shoaib Akhtar being suspended and fined for ball tampering in the last league match against New Zealand, Miandad stressed that the action was not intentional. But as the camera had focussed on him and the action of the bowler was suspected, he was suitably punished.

First Published: May 25, 2003 17:05 IST