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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Derek Pringle

February 22, 2003

Derek Pringle bowled the best spell of his one-day career against Pakistan in the 1992 final at Melbourne. In front of 87,182 fans, Pringle bowled 10 overs for 22 runs and picked up three important wickets. But it wasn't enough. The Pakistani batsmen collared the other bowlers and scored 249 runs which proved too much for the Englishmen.
Currently in South Africa as a correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, London, Pringle spoke to Faisal Shariff on the England-Pakistan match to be played at the picturesque Newlands ground in Cape Town on Saturday, and relived the 1992 final that Pakistan won.
A famous ground, a famous crowd, a famous final. What are your memories?

It was a pretty good game with a hint of rain around. That is why Imran Khan decided to bat first after winning the toss. The balls used in the competition swung quite a bit, so I fancied my chances of picking some early wickets provided I had my rhythm. But I was coming into the game from an injury, having missed the semi-final and the game against Zimbabwe.

I had been bowling well in the nets and I was quite confident. I got a couple of early wickets and then Javed (Miandad) and Imran (Khan) got Pakistan back on track though they took their sweet time. By the halfway stage they had got about 70 runs. That set the platform for Inzamam-ul Haq to trash the bat as he had been doing through the competition. When we walked off I thought that Pakistan had got 15, 20 runs more than they should have.

Wasim Akram bowled magnificently and then the rest is history. Imran Khan is a politician today.
What was the turning point of that match?

The key was umpire Steve Bucknor not giving Javed Miandad LBW when he was on one off me. It was plumb, even Javed knew it was out. There was a big crowd in and the umpire thought that maybe if he gave Javed out early we would be all going home early and it would be a disappointment. I don't know what went through his mind but I thought it was one of the most plumb LBW decisions. That was the turning point for me.

Also, the two wickets that Wasim Akram took of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis of successive balls knocked out all the momentum we had gained for the chase. After that we were struggling.
Have you ever discussed that decision with Steve Bucknor after that?

Many years later, when I saw him in Jamaica, I asked him, “Is Javed still not out, Steve?” He did not smile. It was only a joke but that was that.
What did Javed have to say about it?

After the game when the youngsters were running around the ground celebrating the win, I went into the Pakistani dressing room to greet Imran and Javed. I said congratulations to the two of them. Javed tapped his leg and said: ‘Allah smiled on me today.'
England has made it to the finals of the World Cup thrice. Why has it failed to come up trumps even once?

We went into the 1979 final against a team that was dominating world cricket like no one had. The West Indies were the most powerful side in the world. We should have won against Australia in 1987 but they were should not have been allowed to get the score they got. The 1992 final was played under lights, and chasing under lights is difficult anywhere in the world.
How do you see the England – Pakistan game on Saturday go?

Pakistan has got three fantastic fast bowlers and they will play Saqlain (Mushtaq) here. The pitch is indifferent here, not as fast as the other pitches in South Africa. Both teams will be looking to win the toss and bat first. That will be the key. If they can get 230, 250 on the board then that will be a tough score to chase under lights.  

Was the decision to ask Alec Stewart to captain England against Namibia in the absence of Nasser Hussain a step in the wrong direction?

If you are looking to be progressive then the right thing to do would have been to ask (Marcus) Trescothick to stand in as captain. What they were worried about was that if Nasser Hussain was not fit for the Pakistan game then they would need an experienced guy to fall back on. Trescothick has not got the experience to captain yet. I think English cricket should be lot bolder than it is but I guess they believe in taking the safe options.

Who are the key players for England?

England has done well against Pakistan recently and they have a very good batting line-up, especially the early order. Trescothick is a little bit out of touch at the moment. I think he has done very well against Pakistan. He, Nick Knight and Michael Vaughan are as good any in the tournament.

England struggle in the middle-order. Keeping things ticking is never their strength and that is where they will struggle. On paper the English bowling attack does not look as strong as Pakistan's but you never know a little help from the pitch and things could swing either ways.

Has the Zimbabwe issue lowered the morale of the team?

I am not sure morale has been lost but I think it has confused one or two of them. The team looked very upset when the ICC gifted the four points to Zimbabwe. They thought they had a good case to have the game shifted from Zimbabwe to South Africa or at least share the points amongst themselves. I don't know if that is optimism or naivete.

And in the battle of the bulge, who is ahead at the moment, Inzamam or Flintoff?

Both are looking extremely fit. Where has all the fat gone? I want to know what diet they are on.

Design: Uttam Ghosh


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