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Pain of losing at home unbearable

I have experienced a whole gamut of emotions since the loss ? gussa, gham, khushi, bebasi, sab kuch ? in fits and starts, writes Inzamam-ul-Haq.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2004 00:28 IST

I can't describe what is going through my mind at this moment. Ever since the last wicket fell on Wednesday to signify an Indian series win, my mind has been flooded with an array of thoughts. I have experienced a whole gamut of emotions — gussa, gham, khushi, bebasi, sab kuch — in fits and starts.

I felt anger because India won the series only because we allowed them to do so. The pain and sorrow of losing at home is unbearable. There have been moments of pure joy when we beat the odds to win two games in a row.

Then the helplessness set in as I watched our bowlers throw it all away in the two games in Lahore. I am an emotional person, but I have not let these emotions overwhelm me.

Rarely in international cricket does a captain win five tosses in a row and end up losing the series. I will be ridiculed for my decision to field first in Wednesday's 'final', but believe me my judgement was based on certain calculations that went wrong.

Before the series began, there was a lot of hype about Pakistan bowling. I am sad to say that our bowlers did not live up to it. Instead, Indian bowling which was supposed to be their soft underbelly, delivered in the final game.

The dew was one of the factors that prompted me to bowl first. In the previous game we had India on the mat, but my bowlers could not finish the job because of the dew.

India put up a very similar total in the final game, but for once our batting faltered and we were virtually out of the game much before the dew factor came into play.

A target of 294 on Lahore's wicket is highly gettable. India got it the other day. We needed someone to anchor the innings or a long partnership. We couldn't manage either.

Worse, we lost early wickets. My dismissal was the last straw. Sachin held a great catch, but I should not have played that shot. If we had wickets in hand, a last-ditch effort could have been made. In the end, Moin Khan and Shoaib Malik had too much to do.

When I look at the sum total of the five games, it tells me that though Pakistan were the more consistent side, India won the series because they handled the pressure better in crunch situations.

Take the fourth game in Lahore. The way they fought back to win from a seemingly lost position showed the stuff they are made of. Credit must go to Sourav Ganguly for moulding his players into a tough little fighting unit.

A word about Pathan. In him India have a bowler who oozes class. In fact, my cricketing acumen tells me that if they continue to develop in this fashion, I see Pathan and Balaji developing into full-fledged all-rounders.

I am hurt and angry, but I cannot be harsh on my young side. They did make mistakes, may be at times they also over-reached, but I can't fault them for not trying.

Each game is a learning process, but the lessons have to be learnt quickly. Our rebuilding process is progressing well, for we lost very narrowly to an Indian side that is rich both in talent as well as experience.

Down we are, but certainly not out. The hustle-bustle of the one-dayers is over. The result will just be a fading memory by the time the first Test begins. If my team can channelise their hurt and anger into solid performances in the Tests, it could well be another story.

My heartiest congratulations to Sourav and his team for winning the Cup. Enjoy it for a while, for you've won only half the battle. The 'real' war is about to begin. (Cafe Cricket)

First Published: Mar 26, 2004 00:28 IST