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Imran praises Smith, slams Pakistan

Cricket legend Imran Khan lauded South African skipper Graeme Smith on Thursday for lifting his team after its World Cup debacle.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2003 10:53 IST

Cricket legend Imran Khan lauded South African skipper Graeme Smith Thursday for lifting his team after its World Cup debacle, but criticised Pakistan's efforts to rebuild its side.

"Smith has changed the South African team," the former Pakistani allrounder, now an MP, told AFP.

"They have only changed the captain after the World Cup, which is a short-term remedy, and with the same coach Eric Simons, Smith has lifted the team. His impact is big on the team," he said.

But he slammed his home team's attempts to rebuild.

"Pakistan seems clueless and playing with a changed team is not rebuilding, its a process which needs a base -- too many changes is not rebuilding, it's not sensible," said Imran, who played 82 Tests for Pakistan from 1971 to 1992.

South Africa and Pakistan made unceremonious first round exits from this years World Cup and have since started reorganising.

Pakistan looked panicky Sunday after losing a five-match one-day series with South Africa 3-2, with the first of two Tests starts starting in Lahore on Friday.

With captain Inzamam-ul Haq ruled out due to hamstring injury, the home team looked out of sorts. They also surprisingly played leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed in the first one-day rather than using him as a secret weapon in Tests.

"Had I been South African captain, I would have been happy that Pakistan has too many changes after the one-dayers," said Imran, who led Pakistan to 1992 World Cup triumph.

"They are bringing the same players dumped after the World Cup."

Former captain Intikhab Alam also had few kind words for the Pakistan team.

"Selectors are at sea who to play, they get panicky after defeats and I am hearing this rhetoric of rebuilding for the last four years," he said.

South Africa beat Pakistan in the one-day series because of their aggression, he added.

"South Africa beat us purely on aggression. We won the first two and fell complacent."

But coach Javed Miandad disagreed the team was in a panic.

"We have lost the one-day series 2-3 and not 5-0, so it's not a panic situation. We lost just because of injuries to key players," Miandad said.

First Published: Oct 16, 2003 17:12 IST