November 25, 2010

Intikhab considers UAE series against South Africa a great success


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Although Pakistan could only draw the Test series, after having narrowly lost the ODI series, against South Africa, manager Intikhab Alam very rightly described the just concluded tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a success story for his team.

“I think Misbah-ul-Haq led the team from the front. The boys showed fierce determination to perform under intense pressure which augurs well for the future,” he told APP Sports Correspondent, Ehsan Qureshi, in an interview ahead of their departure to Lahore on November 25.

“It was very heartening that the Pakistan team put up a fighting show against formidable South African placed second in the ICC Test ranking. Overall it was an impressive show by our boys,” he commented.

“Coming from behind and drawing both the Test matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was creditable performance. It was an outstanding show under intense pressure,” he reckoned.

Pakistan surprised even their own supporters by having managed to draw both the Test matches after nightmarish starts. The fancied South Africans were unable to either of the two games despite being the firm favourites.

“The fighting performance against South Africa in ODIs and Test matches are great boost for the team ahead of their tour to New Zealand,” former Pakistan Captain Intikhab Alam, who replaced Yawar Saeed as Manager, observed.

He said it was good performance by the team in absence suspended pace duo of Muhammad Aamir and Muhammad Asif and opener Salman Butt.

“Team members showed responsibility and good conduct on and off the field. Misbah led the side well and also proved himself with the bat,” Intikhab added.

He said there was lot of talk criticism on the appointment of Misbah as the captain of the Test team but he fully proved himself worthy of the position.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room remained friendly and congenial and coach Waqar Younis alongwith the support staff played their role admirably,” he said.

Commenting on the pitches prepared for Test matches, tracks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were more suited for batting but added there was some good performances by Pakistani and South African bowlers on those pitches.

“I think ODI as well as Test series were interesting and absorbing and there was great tussle between the bat and the ball throughout the tour,” he remarked.

Intikhab Alam credited youngsters like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, debutant pace bowler Tanvir Ahmed and all-rounder Abdur Rehman. “These guys put in their best and impressed everyone with their outstanding performances. Among the seniors Younis Khan, Umer Gul also fared well,” he said.

Commenting on the areas of concern for his team, he did not mince words in stating that fielding and top level fitness needed to be focussed ahead of the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

To a question about wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider deserting the team on the morning of the fifth ODI in Dubai, he said that he had prepared a report and will be submitting to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, Ijaz Butt, shortly.


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