Media putting salt on the wounds of losers

Published: Saturday, April 17, 2004, 21:07 [IST]
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Islamabad :The blackest day, calamity, last rites of Pakistan cricket performed at Pindi - fumed the Pakistani media and commentators on Friday at the defeat of its team at the hands of arch-rivals India in the series-decider.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Shaharayar Khan and CEO Ramiz Raja also did not escape the media fury and were slammed for hosting VVIP dinners and doing TV commentary.

"No one had thought our cricket would die as it did on the fourth day of the final Test," said local English daily 'Dawn'.

"It was a sad day as the last rites of Pakistan cricket were performed at the Pindi cricket Stadium... Indian spinner Anil Kumble and paceman Laxmipathy Balaji made the coffin in front of a handful of mourners," it said.

Terming the defeat as "disgrace", 'The Nation' called for introspection to determine reasons for why a "potentially world beating side" has been reduced to a "mob of disheartened defeatists".

"It is no use consoling ourselves that it is merely a game. The third Test defeat, which handed India the three-match rubber on a platter after the 3-2 One-day series win is a calamity," it said in a hard-hitting editorial.

It said India were not able to win a series abroad since 1993-94 losing nine out of 13 series. "But this pathetic record has been interrupted, courtesy the Pakistan team. India has beaten Pakistan in Pakistan first time ever."

Noted cricket columnist Omar Kureishi termed the defeat in his column in 'Dawn' as "Pakistan cricket's blackest day, a tame surrender which resembled the silence of the lambs".

"The Pakistan team broke a lot of hearts and has turned many away from the game itself. And to think that they call themselves professional cricketers...

"Pakistan just threw in the towel. It has lost before this and has been outplayed. But it never capitulated in this manner as it did at Rawalpindi. It makes one angry. No one is bigger than the game and no game is bigger than one's country," he said.

'The Nation' said the defeat suggests Pakistan cricket is still in "doldrums" after its miserable performance in last year's World Cup.

"Though there is not that much difference in ability between India and Pakistan, India's team rose to the occasion, while the bunch of prima donnas playing for Pakistan buckled under the pressure.

"Defeat and victory is part of the game. But to see such shambles is truly painful, particularly against India."

Calling for introspection, the newspaper termed captain Inzamam-ul-Haq an introvert lacking in communication skills to motivate players and mocked at Shaharyar for hosting VVIP dinners than looking into team's poor performance.

It also had a dig at Raja saying, "he cannot be blamed, for he has little time to spare from his lucrative duties to pay any attention to what is happening in Pakistan cricket.

"Many will note that he works for the same channel that had the TV rights, which deepens the conflict of interest," it said and bemoaned that "somewhere along the line the cricket czars lost sight of the game in the middle".

Cricket columnist of 'The Nation' Agha Akbar recalled how every Indian tour of Pakistan had been a nemesis to Indian skippers including Bishen Singh Bedi and Sunil Gavasakar.

"Bedi suffered the ignominy of being fired even before he had landed back on the Indian soil in contrast to Sourav Ganguly who boards a special flight for home.

"After all, what Ganguly has achieved is a stuff of dreams - the first-ever series victories in Pakistan over Pakistan in both versions of the game," he said adding that the intensity and pressure of the Indian team had unnerved Pakistan team.

He said the Pakistan thinktank lacked in leadership, resourcefulness and resolve to put the team back on the winning course while exhorting the home side to "return the compliment" to India when it visits the country next time.

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