Players and politicians hail defeated Pakistan team

Shahid Afridi's men should be given a heroes' welcome when they touch down in Pakistan despite their loss to India in the World Cup semi-finals, urged a number of former players today.

A few years ago, Pakistan cricketers would have expected anger and backlash following a defeat by their traditional foes but former captain Javed Miandad said the class of 2011 should be lauded as they had exceeded expectations.



"We need to support this team and appreciate their performance. They made mistakes and dropped catches in the semi-final and that cost them the match," former captain Miandad told Reuters.



"But to reach the last-four stage was in itself a big achievement. They were not the subject of any controversy and played competitive cricket. The future is good for Pakistan cricket."



Advancing to the last four appeared to be an impossible dream for Pakistan less than two months ago.



The team had lost three of their most talented players - Salman Butt and pace duo Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - to corruption bans and two weeks before the tournament they did not even know who their captain would be.



But once Afridi was appointed skipper, he united the squad and directed his men with a single minded focus that helped them top their group in the first round. They then went on to humiliate West Indies by 10 wickets in the quarter-finals.



It is these kinds of memories that Pakistanis should hold on to, and not the ones where the team dropped four catches that let Sachin Tendulkar off the hook time and again on Wednesday, said a host of former players.



"The team fought well and had it not dropped the catches offered by Tendulkar the result could have been different," said Inzamam-ul-Haq.



Former wicketkeeper-batsman, Rashid Latif added: "Any other team would have succumbed to the pressures that came with the spot-fixing and disciplinary scandals. But our boys showed lot of grit and Shahid Afridi led them very well."



"Let's not be despondent or angry with this team. It has some outstanding players who will ensure a bright future for Pakistan cricket," said former captain Moin Khan.



"The great thing about the match was the way it united us and proved how powerful cricket can be as a unifying tool."



Leading politicians also hailed the team with Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, announcing a cash award of half a million rupees ($5,864) for each player.



"The boys have done us proud and played well to reach the semi-finals. I will go myself to greet them," Sharif told Geo News.



News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week