'This team had done well to reach the semi-final'
Pakistan's former captains and players backed the national team despite its defeat in the high-octane World Cup semifinal clash against arch-rivals India at Mohali on Thursday.
"I think we need to support our players even though we played badly today and lost to India. We need to look ahead and also hope this match will be a catalyst in improving our relations with India," former captain Javed Miandad said.
Miandad, who is also director-general cricket in the Pakistan Cricket Board, refused to criticise the team.
"Yes we made mistakes today like giving a great batsman like Tendulkar three to four lives. They were a couple of other tactical errors in the match but I still say this team had done well to reach the semi-final," he said.
Image: Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi (3rd from left) is congratulated by teammates
'We should have attacked them more after dismissing Yuvraj'
The former batting great pointed out that given the problems Pakistan cricket had faced in recent times it was a big achievement for them to reach so far in the World Cup.
"There are some future stars in this team and that is a good sign. Plus this match has allowed India and Pakistan to take a big step forward to normalise political and cricket relations as well," he said.
The veteran of 124 Tests lavished praise on Tendulkar and Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"Tendulkar played a valuable knock on what was not an easy batting pitch. He proved his critics wrong who say when he scores India loses," Miandad said.
Former captain Moin Khan felt Pakistan had wasted a good opportunity to beat India.
"We should have attacked them more when they lost Yuvraj Singh and I don't know why the power play was not taken when Misbah and Afridi were batting together," he said.
"But overall I think no one expected this team to come this far and we must accept India played better cricket than us. They deserved to be in the final," he said.
Image: Yuvraj Singh of India is bowled for a first ball duck by Wahab Riaz
Photographs: Getty Images
'We must accept defeat in sporting spirit'
Another former skipper Rashid Latif pointed out that the Indians had handled the pressure and hype surrounding the match better than the Pakistan team.
"I think we lost the match in the first 20 overs when we chased the total. Secondly, it was our bad luck that today two of our main wicket-takers in the World Cup, Umar Gul and Afridi did not get wickets," said Latif.
He pointed out that some of the Pakistani batsmen had shown their inexperience by getting out to loose shots after getting set.
"I think this is what pressure does to you. That is why experience counts. Look at Tendulkar, he carried on playing well despite the 'lives' he was given.
"The pitch was not easy as the ball was not coming onto the bat. Even Tendulkar struggled today to get his timing right," he noted.
Former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir said that Pakistan had done the nation proud by reaching the World Cup semi-final.
"I think reaching the semi-final was something we did not expect before the World Cup. So we must give them credit for that. We must accept defeat in sporting spirit and encourage the players, especially the youngsters," he said.
Image: Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi (centre) shakes hands with India's Harbhajan Singh as Pakistan's Younis Khan (2nd from right) congratulates India's Yusuf Pathan after India's victory
'Tendulkar was lucky'
But Qadir said he was disappointed at the way some of the batsmen had played.
"It was disappointing to see the manner in which Muhammad Hafeez threw his wicket. He was set and playing well but yet got out to a bad shot at a crucial time. We just could not get partnerships going which is so important when you are chasing a 250 plus score," he said.
Pakistan's pace bowler Sohail Tanvir said the team had paid heavily for not dismissing Tendulkar when they got the chances.
"I think when you give a player like Tendulkar so many chances he will make you pay and you can't win. He was lucky today and if he had not scored those runs India would not have managed even 200 runs," he said.
Tanvir also felt that they were times in the Indian innings when Pakistan had the chance to go for the final kill but allowed the opportunities to slip away.
Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar poses with his man of the match trophy