"This win will be remembered not just today or tomorrow but for a long, long time," said Sarfraz Ahmed. © Getty Images

“This win will be remembered not just today or tomorrow but for a long, long time,” said Sarfraz Ahmed. © Getty Images

The common theme in the mixed zone as the victorious Pakistani players held forth on their Champions Trophy triumph was one of unbridled joy. Here’s what the players had to say as they savoured their 180-run win over India in the final at The Oval on Sunday (June 18).

SHOAIB MALIK
Back home, I am sure the roads are blocked, people are out and they’re dancing even though we have Ramadan. It’s just awesome. I want to congratulate the Pakistani people and all over the world. I think this is something we were missing and this brings us united. I’d like to thank the Indian cricket team the way they played in this tournament. And also the Indian fans who came out to support.

For me, it (India-Pakistan) was just another match. But obviously there is a lot of hype when India and Pakistan play, because we don’t play against each other a lot. I don’t know the reasons. But playing against a big team and winning the game is a great achievement.

Obviously when you win an ICC tournament, you have great feelings. The way we started this tournament wasn’t up to the mark, but we learned from our mistakes. After the first loss to India, we sat down, we talked about what should be done. It showed a lot of character from the players and it was a combined effort.

BABAR AZAM
This is a great win for us, and will help our cricket a lot. Maza aa gaya. Our bowling has done well throughout, it was only the batting on which there were some questions. But the way we batted in the semifinal was very beneficial. And in this final too, the batsmen set the tone. Our bowlers were already in form, but the batsmen gave us a good total.

HASAN ALI
I can’t put it in words how happy an occasion it is, that in my first ICC tournament I’ve got the best bowler and Player of the tournament awards. This will help me a lot in my career. My hard work and belief is behind whatever has happened.

I wasn’t in the side last year but I relied on hard work and self-belief. I have learnt from the beginning that fitness is important. I was very calm, there was no pressure on me, and thankfully I did well in all our games. This was a great tournament for me, I dismissed some top players. It’s very special to take the final wicket that won it for us.

JUNAID KHAN
Our fans will be even happier than us. We were out there playing on the field, but they were watching it on TV, and would have had lots of moments of tension, much more than us.

MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ
Great team effort. After losing the first game, we were nowhere. We were in the knockouts stage but no one gave us a chance. The way we showed character, this is for the nation. They have been waiting for this for a long, long time. This is the least we could do.

IMAD WASIM
It’s a young team and to win a major tournament like the Champions Trophy is a big achievement for us. Imagine the confidence we’ll get from this. I really don’t feel that we’re unpredictable, we have won four games. We have proved them wrong. We just go there and win, we’re a great side and we believe in our side. We’ve got one of the best sides in the world, it’s not a fluke, we won it by ourselves.

AZHAR ALI
(On batting with Zaman): It’s about understanding each other and the situation. In the earlier matches, he was taking the game on and I was quite relaxed at the other end, I could take my time. He did that with me for the first three games, but today I think the Indians had plans against him and he couldn’t get going properly the way he does. But I spoke to him to calm down because the runs were still coming. I had a few boundaries, so I told him to relax and that he could make up at anytime. So he listened to me and he focussed and showed a lot of temperament. I think a partnership up front is so important these days. If you have a big partnership up front, it can really set up a big score. The guys who are in form need to deliver on the big occasion, and we were in form, so we wanted to set up a good platform, so I’m happy we did that.

SARFRAZ AHMED
It’s a great achievement for me, the team and the country. This win will be remembered not just today or tomorrow but for a long, long time. Now, nobody can talk that we have not beaten India in the World Cup or a major tournament like that. When we arrived, we were No. 8 in the world. Now, we’re champions. Hopefully this will boost Pakistan cricket.