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Pak media pats Sourav's boys

Trying to come to terms with the first ever series loss to India at home, Pakistani media on Sunday heaped praise on the victors.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Islamabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 18, 2004 05:00 PM IST

Trying to come to terms with the first ever series loss to India at home, Pakistani media on Sunday heaped praise on the victors while calling for heads to roll in the cricket establishment in the host country.

"There is no doubt that the present Indian side is the strongest ever with an awesome batting line-up," The Dawn wrote.

"In bowling, young and relatively inexperienced Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji proved to be more than a match for Pakistan with their medium pace. And in fielding, India, more often than not, reached the very highest international standards.

"Taken everything together, India were a far better side than their hosts and deserved to win. This indeed was their finest hour," it said.

"The vanquished must have the courage to acclaim the victors who won fair and square", the paper said.

The newspaper said but for the miscalculation by Rahul Dravid in opting to bowl on a green wicket in Lahore, India could have won the series 3-0.

The Nation in its article titled "It's time for heads to roll" said the twin series loss was no different from the ignominious defeat in last year's World Cup after which several top players like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were "forced to retire."

It called for removal of coach Javed Miandad and Manager Haroon Rashid, both of whom, it accused, are responsible for "devastating" Pakistan cricket.

The Nation also accused PCB Chief Shaharyar Khan of promoting Indo-Pak bonhomie at the cost of the fortunes of the national team and asked for former cricketers like Imran Khan to be given the task of running the Board.

The Daily Times in its editorial said Pakistan team's inability to fight back when the chips were down was a "remarkably depressing development" that came to the fore during the series.

"They (Pakistan cricketers) just lay down and allowed the Indians to walk all over them. Imran Khan had instilled a fighting, never-say-die streak into the team that continued to shine under Wasim Akram."

"The other tragedy", according to the paper, was the lack of spirit in Inzamam's captaincy.

"We still don't have a true captain to write home about. We have experimented with several and each has been a bigger disaster than the first," it said.

"We have more than eleven good players but we don't have a team and therefore we don't see evidence of any team spirit or esprit de corps. The PCB should focus on finding solutions to these two problems. Until then, the Pakistani eleven will continue to languish at the bottom of the league and the crowds will not return to the grounds," it said.

The Dawn addressed the larger issue of peace between the two countries referring to Pakistani spectators applauding the Indians after their victory.

"The tour has created an unprecedented amount of goodwill between the two countries, the full implications of which may be seen in the days ahead," it said.

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