The World Twenty20 build-up has been far from ideal for Pakistan but captain Shahid Afridi said his team is in a positive frame of mind even though it needs to be more disciplined in executing strategy. (Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik Say Pakistan Get Love in India, Not Security Threats)
Pakistan could win only two matches during last month’s Asia Cup, a debacle that came close on the heels of a limited -overs away series loss to New Zealand.
Afridi said his side has been guilty of deviating from plans and this shortcoming will have to be overcome when it takes on Bangladesh (March 16) and India (March 19) in the opening two matches here.
“We are missing that (execution of plans). But I don’t think we should live in the past. If we play to the team plan, we would do well,” Afridi said in a press conference here today.
“The first game is always very important. You take rhythm from the first match. We will try to take the rhythm from the first match. The pitch and conditions suit us. Both the matches will be very important,” he added.
Eden Gardens has been a happy hunting ground for Pakistan where they have an all-win (4-0) record against India in the ODIs and Afridi said the stat is enough to keep them in a positive frame of mind.
“We have very good memories here. We will be playing two matches here so we’re confident. Back of the mind, you see overall performances. You think about past. You take those positively. The body language will be good so it’s a plus point,” he said.
But when reminded that India have never lost to Pakistan in an ICC tournament, the Pakistani skipper was all smiles and said, “That brings negativity… We would like to keep it away.”
On a serious note he said, “India are playing very good cricket. But even can give them a tough time.”
Afridi said he would not hesitate to promote himself up the order in the batting lineup if the need arises during the tournament.
“As a captain I have given a lot of chance to youngsters. But in a big event like this, it is the senior players who take the pressure be it myself, Shoaib Malik or Mohammed Hafeez. I will look to contribute up the order with the batting.”
“I don’t know what he (Sharma) has said, for me Amir is the best. The way he is going, he is among the top International bowlers.
“We have a great fast bowling lineup. If our batsmen put enough scores on board, I don’t think it will be difficult. We have two youngsters in the spin department, so it’s good. It’s been Pakistan bowling versus Indian batting for the last 60 years.”