Former players, fans ecstatic over victory

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2004, 23:39 [IST]
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Kolkata:'Ecstasy' is the word that best describes the mood of former cricketers and cricket fans in the hometown of Sourav Ganguly over the first ever Test win by India on Pakistan soil in Multan on Thursday.

"I'm ecstatic. This is an unbelievable victory," was the instant reaction from former Test opener Arun Lal, who was mesmerised at the team's high spirit and the will to win.

"The team has shown rare spirit to go ahead and win above everything. Its a fine team effort, which has all the elements of good cricket," he said.

National selector (East) Pranab Roy was not much different in his views. "I'm extremely pleased at India's performance. I congratulate the whole team, but also want them to focus on maintaining momentum to win the series."

While expressing confidence in the team's ability of winning the series, Roy said he was a bit concerned at theme to recover once the series was over.

Meanwhile, fans and cricket lovers, holding patience since Wednesday for the fall of the last wicket in Pakistan's innings, celebrated in the metropolis, starting from the neighbourhood of the Ganguly family at the Biren Roy Road in Behala to Central and Northern parts.

There was, however, concern about the condition of the skipper, who is arriving in Kolkata on Thursday night for treatment of his lower back injury suffered during the fifth and final One-day International match in Lahore.

In Ahmedabad former Indian wicketkeeper and national selector from West Zone, Kiran More said the flamboyant batting by Indians, especially Virender Sehwag had "morally killed" Pakistan, which could hardly recover after the visitors posted a mammoth first innings total.

"It was great win...an outstanding performance. Our batting was very impressive and it morally killed Pakistan, which could never come back into the game," he said over phone from Vadodara after India beat archrivals Pakistan by an innings and 52 runs in their own den after gap of 50 years.

"Since last 3-4 years Indian team has been performing very well and the recent tour of Australia has boosted their confidence level to a new high," said More, who played four Tests against Pakistan in 1989-90--all of which were drawn.

In Mumbai, former India skipper Ajit Wadekar said the current Indian team which beat Pakistan by an innings and 52 runs in the first Test at Multan is the "best ever" team that we have sent abroad.

"According to me this is the "best ever" team to have gone abroad and the key to their success is that they are playing as one unit," Wadekar, who is considered as one of the most successful captains after he led the country to its first series win in the West Indies and England in the 70s, said.

"The players are willing to learn from their mistakes and the performance of the team is improving all the time. Every player, be it wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel or bowlers Balaji or Irfan Pathan are giving hundred percent because they are getting motivated by the superb performances of their seniors like Sachin (Tendulkar), Viru (Virender Sehwag) and Anil (Kumble)," he added.

"Today being my birthday I would like to consider this win as a birthday gift by the boys. They almost won the match yesterday itself but could't take the last wicket so I would like to think that they dragged it by a day so that it would be a birthday gift for me," Wadekar said in a lighter vein.

Speaking about Sehwag's triple century, Wadekar said, "it was Sehwag's attacking batting which really helped the acting captain Rahul Dravid to declare the innings and go for the kill. I think it was one of the most explosive innings by an Indian in the recent times."

"His eye and hand co-ordination is really great and the way he concentrated during his innings and his determination to succeed was very clear to all," Wadekar added.

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