Inzy acknowledges Dravid, the leader
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Inzy acknowledges Dravid, the leader

Vanquished Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq was generous in his praise for his Indian counterpart but was quick to remind that success was fickle.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 18:00 IST

Ever the gentleman-cricketer, the vanquished Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq wason Mondaygenerous in his praise for his Indian counterpart Rahul Dravid's leadership qualities but also reminded him about fickleness of success.

Captaincy is tagged to the team's success, the burly Pakistani batsman said in an interview to PTI a day after India demolished his team 4-1 in the ODI series.

Inzamam has seen it all in the past one year. He led Pakistan to an unexpected series win in one-dayers in India last year, then defeated Ashes winners England both in Tests and ODIs a few weeks back in Pakistan and beat India 1-0 in the Test series before the 4-1 ODI drubbing at the hands of the Indians.

"Rahul has leadership qualities that should take him to new heights. But I must stress here that captaincy is tagged to the team's success. Therefore his team needs to win on more regular basis and in both forms of the game", the Pakistan captain said.

The only "disadvantage" Dravid has "is that he will always be compared with his predecessor Sourav Ganguly who is India's most successful captain", he observed.

In Inzamam's view, the tour of Pakistan has been a great learning curve for Dravid. "He tasted defeat in the Test series and consequently faced a barrage of criticism. He then won the one-day series for which he is appreciated".

"I believe like cricketers, captains also gain experience and confidence when they lead their teams in series against traditional rivals because the pressure and tension out there is too much and only (those with) steel nerves can survive", said Inzamam who finds himself under attack for the loss to India.

He had always been a great admirer of Dravid's batting and "I am sure he will get better on the captaincy front also", according to Inzamam.

Asked about India's prospects in the 2007 World Cup, the Pakistan skipper replied that at the moment India was heading in the "right direction".

"The World Cup is still 12 months away and a lot of cricket is to be played until then. But yes, every victory in the lead up to the World Cup counts and matters a lot. So, in that context India are heading in the right direction. Let us see how they perform in the events that follow", he said.

About the spirit in which the just-concluded Indo-Pak series was played, the Pakistan captain acknowledged the intense rivalry between the two teams on the field.

"But what happens on the ground does not affect the relationships outside. Both teams try to win on the ground but friendships outside it remain", he said.

Despite some controversies surrounding the bowling action of Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamam maintained that there was no acrimony or bitterness between the two teams.

There was, he pointed out, no offical Indian complaint against Shoaib's action although certain things appeared in the media. "So many things appear in newspapers of which we cannot take notice. If the umpires or the Match Referee complain, then it is a different situation. That did not happen in relation to Shoaib", he added.

Defending the bowling action of 'Rawalpindi Express', Inzamam said that his action was clean. "He is a totally different fast bowler, a genuine fast bowler, a strike bowler".

The Pakistan captain also sought to put behind the controversy surrounding the Indian team's appeal against him at a crucial stage in the first one-dayer at Peshawar when he was declared out 'obstructing the field'.

"The Indians had a right to appeal as per the laws of the game. This should not be the subject of any controversy. India needed wickets considering the situation in the match. It's not an issue at all", he said.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 18:00 IST