WC 2003 - ~~Pak needs someone with half the passion of Tendulkar~~

Published: Saturday, February 15, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Former Pakistan coach and captain Javed MiandadIslamabad: Pakistan is yearning for someone who can play cricket with even "half the passion" that Sachin Tendulkar has and the admission comes from no other than the India-bashing and pompous Javed Miandad.Licking the wounds of an early exit from the World Cup, Miandad set about the task of carrying out a post mortem of country's "most disappointing" show in the premier event and tried to list the what-went-wrongs."The faster Shoaib Akhtar bowled at him, the more powerful his (Tendulkar's) shots were. Wouldn't Pakistan have loved to have someone who could play with half the passion that Sachin played with at Centurion," Miandad said reflecting on Pakistan's six-wicket surrender to India at Centurion on March 1.Miandad was quick to press for an overhaul in the cricket establishment too."Pakistan's performance has been most disappointing in this World Cup. And let me say that even with a professional coach and the numerous experienced stars in the side, if the team can't get the basic things right, then it is time for major changes in the set-up. "Pakistan's performance must rank as the most disappointing in their World Cup history. They have been beaten by Australia, England, and now India this time around," Miandad was quoted as saying in 'The News'.But he wondered what the administrators could do "if the players lack the passion for the game and the hunger to go for a win". The 44-year-old Miandad, rated as Pakistan's best batsman in its cricket history, knows the pitfalls of apportioning blame as he himself has been victim of the system, being sacked twice before as coach of the Pakistan team due to disputes with the players and the powers that be.But Miandad could not help but criticise the way the Pakistanis went about their task against India."It was unfortunate to note that in the crunch game against India there seemed to be no game plan, no thinking in the middle."Once Tendulkar smashed 18 runs off the second over, I saw a few heads drop. No, this is not the Pakistan team I have known. At that stage, Pakistan sorely missed Rashid Latif, who was injured while batting," Miandad said."In the afternoon, it was Latif's late charge that helped Pakistan go past the 250-run mark. When the bowlers were getting clattered around, he would have been one man who would have been capable of lifting the morale of the side with his enthusiastic presence," said the former skipper, who appearedin record six World Cups for Pakistan.Miandad said it hurt him to see that "while all the other teams improved as the tournament progressed, Pakistan is one team that has refused to do so".But he did give some credit to India for the victory saying he had no doubt that Pakistan had lost to a better team at Centurion. "It didn't really matter who the opponent was, all the media-hype about playing India in a crucial game should not have had any influence on both the teams. Remember, these guys are professionals." Miandad was also critical about the selection criteria. "What baffled me most about the Pakistan side for the match and during the rest of the World Cup is the fact that too many players seem to be in the side purely on the basis of reputation. "The batting, for its part, looked mediocre for the best part against India. They huffed and puffed till they reached 200 against an Indian attack that was nowhere near the best in the world."The former coach also did not spare Inzamam-ul-Haq saying "in his current form he won't even score against a local club side"."I do not intend to pick on individuals, but then, what was Shahid Afridi doing in the side? And that too at the cost of Saqlain Mushtaq! This meant that when Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were smashing the bowling to all parts of the park, Waqar just didn't have a bowler who could slow it down," Miandad said in his usual acerbic style. PTI

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