Flood-hit Pakistan rejoices at win over England
Karachi: Pakistan`s top political leaders, under fire over their handling of disastrous floods, took time out on Sunday to praise the country`s cricket side after its victory in the third Test over England.
Captain Salman Butt dedicated the four-wicket victory at The Oval to the millions hit by Pakistan`s worst-ever floods.
"The only thing we could do is win a good game to bring some cheer to them," he said. "We name this victory to the victims of the floods."
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani -- who f ace virulent criticism for the government`s faltering relief effort -- both sent messages of congratulation to the touring cricketers.
"The team deserves congratulation," said Zardari`s message to Butt, expressing hope the side would play in the same spirit in the concluding Test at Lord`s from Thursday.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt, who has faced calls from some Pakistani lawmakers to resign after the team lost the first two Tests against England, also praised the side`s spirit.
"The whole team displayed tremendous character and professionalism to carve out a deserved victory," he said in a message.
"All the boys fought like a unit with Mohammad Yousuf showing his class," the PCB head said of the recalled veteran batsman, who made 56 and 33 at The Oval.
Former captain Aamir Sohail blamed the PCB selectors for hampering Pakistan in England.
"We would have won the series 3-0 had we done proper selection of the squad before the tour, because England have proved to be an over-rated team," Sohail said, calling for the recall of batsmen Younus Khan and Taufeeq Umer.
Younus was banned indefinitely for indiscipline in March. Although his ban was later lifted on appeal, he has not been cleared to play by the PCB. That is in contrast to Yousuf, who was also banned only then to be recalled.
Former selection committee chief Iqbal Qasim also demanded Younus`s inclusion.
"Pakistan would have been leading the series 2-1 had Younus been in the team," said Qasim, who resigned earlier this year after a disastrous tour of Australia.
"The team played with unity and that`s why the result is different. It was because of our inexperience that we lost the first two Tests (against England)," he added.