Inzamam gives ultimatum to his bowlers

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2004, 21:03 [IST]
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Multan:Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq on Thursday put his fast bowlers on notice, saying they must perform or face being dropped from the side for the remaining two Tests against India.

"Bowling is a problem and we may have to leave out those who are not performing," Inzamam warned after his team suffered an innings and 52 runs defeat to give India their first-ever Test win on Pakistani soil.

"The Indians bowled very well on this track, while our bowlers failed. They could not put the ball in the right areas which allowed the opposition to put up a big score," he said referring to India's mammoth first innings total of 675 for five.

The skipper said it was imperative for the bowlers to perform if the side was to bounce back in the series. "They are working hard in the nets, but are not able to perform in the matches. We have to sort out our bowling problems if we are bounce back in the series."

Inzamam defended his batsmen despite their pathetic show in the second innings and said the pressure of conceding such a lead was too much. "We batted well in the first innings, there was a lot more pressure in the second innings. I think they all tried to bat responsibly but succumbed to the pressure," he said.

The Pakistani captain said he did not believe in playing defensively because by merely blocking the balls, the objective could not be achieved. "It is important to play positive cricket and sensible cricket. We tried to do it but could not succeed."

Asked to comment on off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq's dismal show on a track where India's leg-spinner Anil Kumble claimed eight wickets in all, Inzamam said "we chose him because of his experience. He had a good record against India."

Inzamam was sympathetic of his bowling spearhead Shoaib Akhtar but conceded that eventually it all boiled down to performing in the middle. "Performance is very important. The Indians bowled so well on this track, he is trying hard but has still not got his rhythm back."

The skipper, however, said he hoped the bowlers would come back and bowl to their full potential. He was also hopeful of the team bouncing back in the series and promised to put up a much-improved performance in the remaining two matches.

"We may have lost the first Test, but there is still a lot of cricket left in the series. We will work hard and stage a comeback.

"The Indians got a lot of confidence after winning the One-day series. This Test win will also give them a lot of confidence. We have to sort out our problems and come back into the series before it is too late," he said.

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