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Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Imran takes on Miandad over bowling coach

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
 
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Lahore:A war of words broke out between two Pakistani cricket legends after archrivals India engineered a remarkable comeback to level the One-day series 2-2.

The tourists kept their cool in the make-or-break game under lights at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Sunday to overtake Pakistan's 293 for nine with five overs to spare and set up the decider at the same venue on Wednesday.

Former Pakistani captain Imran Khan and current coach Javed Miandad differed on the idea of appointing a bowling coach for the team after the hosts sent down a staggering 58 wides and 40 no-balls in the four matches.

Fiery fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was the worst culprit on Sunday, conceding 14 wides in his 2-63 in nine overs. New-ball partner Shabbir Ahmed gave away five no-balls and a wide in 0-62 from seven overs.

"It does not need a rocket scientist to realise the team needs a bowling coach to sort out its problems," said Imran, one of the game's great all-rounders who led Pakistan to World Cup victory in 1992.

"No team can afford to concede so many extra runs and hope to win. Both the captain (Inzamam-ul Haq) and coach (Miandad) are batsmen and do not have the expertise to look after the bowlers' troubles. When we have former seamer Aaqib Javed as the junior coach, there is no reason why he cannot be called on to help the senior bowlers."

Miandad conceded the undisciplined work by his bowlers was a worry, but did not agree with Imran that a specialist bowling coach was the need of the hour.

"What can a bowling coach do when the player himself does not want to improve?" Miandad said.

"A coach can only guide from outside, it is up to the bowler to improve and overcome the flaw. Bowlers like Imran, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis used to work hard at the nets and sort out their problems. The current bowlers need to work harder and show some discipline. The Indians have proved what a world class batting side they are. We were supposed to have a better bowling attack but it has been found wanting."

Inzamam, caught in the crossfire between the former greats, chose to play safe.

"We did not bowl well at all," he said. "But I have a lot of faith in my bowlers and I am confident they will do better in the decider."

Inzamam had put Pakistan in command with a glorious 123 off 121 balls, but his century went in vain for the second time in the series.

He hit a flawless 122 in the first match at Karachi last week, only to see India conjure up a five-run win in the highest-scoring match in the history of Limited Overs cricket which produced 693 runs.

On Sunday India were reeling at 94 for four in 13 overs when the seasoned Rahul Dravid turned the match around in the company of youngsters Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif.

Dravid, who remained unbeaten on 76, put on 68 for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj and a match-winning 132 for the sixth with Kaif, who returned unconquered on 71.

"I knew Kaif and I had to hang in there because we were the last recognised pair," Dravid said. "But the earlier batsmen had set such a scorching pace that it was only a question of playing out the 50 overs."

Sunday's defeat was Pakistan's first in their last eight matches at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore since 2000.

India will also play three Tests from March 28 in their first full tour of Pakistan since November 1989.

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