The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A big step forward, feels Latif

Sharjah: Satisfied with the successful completion of “the first stage of the rebuilding process”, Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said quite a few questions regarding Pakistan cricket had been answered after the Sharjah Cup victory on Thursday night.

“All questions have to be answered with the performance on the ground and we are happy that some of them have been answered,” Latif said, after his team beat Zimbabwe by eight wickets.

Pakistan, which fielded a new-look side, won all their league matches before defeating Zimbabwe in the final to win the four-nation one-day competition.

“It is a big step in our rebuilding process. We were in crisis when we came here. We came here to win and we have won. All credit to the boys,” Latif said.

“Now we have to switch off. We will switch on again in Sri Lanka, which will be the second phase of our rebuilding process. After the series against Sri Lanka, we will assess the results and the performance of the boys and take whatever measures are necessary,” he said.

Pakistan coach Javed Miandad said the young players had “performed beyond expectations” and had shown that they had the talent and the temperament to excel at the highest level.

“We came here with a purpose and that has been achieved. Pakistan cricket is moving in the right direction. The new boys are very talented and also hungry for success. That is a good sign,” Miandad said.

Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh said there had been an improvement in the team’s performance in this tournament when compared to the last two games in the World Cup but admitted that the final was a let down.

“Probably the batsmen tried to get into it too quickly. 220-230 on this ground should have been a good total. There were too many soft dismissals,” he said.

Zimbabwe were bundled out for just 168, setting quite an easy target for Pakistan. The bowlers compounded the problem by giving away too many extras.

But wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu played an impressive knock of 74 not out. Captain Heath Streak was full of praise for Taibu, saying he had the potential to fill the vacuum created by the retirement of Andy Flower.

“He is a very fast learner and has a great attitude. I just hope his form continues,” Streak said.

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