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Religious belief did the trick: Inzamam

He said praying five times a day had given his boys the strength to beat any team.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 13:41 IST

More than Kamran Akmal's crucial century in the first innings and Mohammad Asif's match winning spell, Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq feels it was religious belief and conviction that did the trick for his side in the Test series against India.

"All this has been possible due to saying our prayers in a congregation and our belief in our religion and strong conviction. I would give all credit to the players saying their prayers five times a day," he wrote in The News.

"This team has got rid of its in-fighting. All the lads have pushed their personal animosity and attitude problems into the background. Now they all enter the field of play only with the intention of defeating the opposition. Praying five times a day has given the boys a new-found strength that is enough to help them prevail over any kind of team," he said.

Inzamam said no one could have thought that a batting powerhouse like India would be tamed so easily by the Pakistani bowlers, but they managed to achieve this because of the team spirit which has improved the atmosphere of the dressing room.

"To turn the unbelievable into the believable is something only this Pakistan (team) could have achieved. To beat one of the strongest Test teams on the circuit is an example of our great unity and team spirit. It was the incredible atmosphere of the Pakistan dressing room that brought us this grand victory and turned our ambitions into reality."

The change, he said, has been brought about by the players decision to adhere to Islam.

"Ever since the players have turned their attention towards Islam, it has had an amazing effect on the performance of the players. Now, every player in the team wants to help the others. If someone makes a mistake or even intentionally hurts anyone, his act is graciously ignored," he said.

Heaping praise on wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal for his "splendid innings", which rescued the team from none for three, Inzamam said he had never seen such an inning under pressure.

"I have been playing international cricket for the last 16 or 17 years. I have never seen a more determined and splendid innings played by anyone under pressure."

"How could anyone have thought that, after being none for three and then 39 for six, a team would go on and win the Test match by the mammoth margin of 341 runs," he said.

Hoping for a great future for paceman Mohammad Asif who ripped apart the Indian top order on the fourth day of the Test to seal the match for the hosts, Inzamam said, "The way this young paceman clean bowled some of the best batsmen in the cricketing world had to be seen to be believed."

He also praised Abdul Razzaq, who "silenced all his critcs with his outstanding all-round display."

The proud skipper is confident that his team has what it takes to touch greater heights.

"Beating India after having won the series against England, we have sent a signal to the world that this team was capable of achieving bigger honours."

About next year's World Cup in West Indies, he said though his side was preparing for it but he was not in a position to make any prediction on the tournament.

"We are one of the sides most likely to win the World Cup. But one year prior to the start of this mega event, I cannot really make any predictions regarding our victory."

"We are preparing hard for it. The pitches in the Caribbean are much like ours and we are accustomed to play on such wickets," he said.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 13:32 IST