World T20 2016 news March 13, 2016

Afridi, Malik play down focus on security

ESPNcricinfo staff

Play 01:58
'I've never had any security issues in India' - Malik

Pakistan's T20 captain Shahid Afridi has played down the focus on the team's security in India, saying he cherishes the support and appreciation of Indian fans. Team-mate Shoaib Malik also backed Afridi's statement, saying the security in India is "very good".

The players spoke to the media after arriving in Kolkata on Saturday, where they will play India on March 19. The game was scheduled to take place in Dharamsala, but was moved to Kolkata due to concerns over the security of the Pakistan team. A three-member delegation from the PCB visited Dharamsala and formally said 'security is not assured' at the venue. The controversy also delayed the departure of the men's and women's teams to India.

"I've not enjoyed playing anywhere as much as I have in India," Afridi said. "I am in the last stage of my career and I can say that the love I have got in India is something that I will always remember. We have not got this much love even from Pakistan.

"There are cricket-loving people here, much like in Pakistan. Overall, I've enjoyed a lot playing in India in my cricketing career."

Malik, who is married to Indian tennis player Sania Mirza, said he had never faced security issues on his previous visits to India.

"Firstly I would like to thank the Indian Government. The security is very good," Malik said. "My wife is from India and I come to India a lot. I have never faced any security issue.

"I don't really see any difference between Pakistani people and the Indians. We eat the same food, we speak the same language. I don't really see any difference. I am very happy to be in India. I have always got a lot of love from people and from media."

Malik went on to state that Pakistan could benefit from the underdog tag they carry going into the World T20. He said the team could draw inspiration from the 1992 World Cup and the 2009 World T20, which Pakistan won despite low expectations from the public.

"It's good that we're underdogs and that gives you a lot of confidence. At the same time, we are here to do well," Malik said. "Let's talk about 1992 World Cup first. People were not expecting us to do well and win it but we won that. Same thing happened in 2007 World T20 when we did well before losing to India in the final. In 2009, we were not that big as a team but still we won. The same is the case going into this edition."

Pakistan, who are ranked No. 7 in the T20 rankings, have had a poor run of form in the format recently, with series losses against England and New Zealand. They lost crucial matches against Bangladesh and India in the recent Asia Cup and failed to make the final. Five of the side's nine T20I victories in the past 12 months have come against Zimbabwe and UAE.

Moreover, the World T20 squad was also in flux. Pakistan were forced to make changes following injuries to Babar Azam and Rumman Raees, while Khurram Manzoor made way for Ahmed Shehzad after a disappointing run in the Asia Cup. Khalid Latif replaced Iftikhar Ahmed in the World T20 squad.

"We could not deliver as per the expectations in the Asia Cup," Malik said. "It's part of life, we are professionals. Whatever happened has happened. We are here to give our best. It is a new tournament. We will try to help each other out and will try what is best for us."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sammy K on March 15, 2016, 0:05 GMT

    Hello Khurram. Good to see you man. Enjoy reading your posts. How come you were not posting anything during the Asia Cup. About Afridi, I couldn't agree with you more. Pakistanis are just in awe of their Lala. The man hasn't performed in years and still refuses to vacate his position. What a selfish son of a whatever. So many talented youngsters have been sacrificed in the process. No other team in the world does that. Just recently, SA even dropped Steyn after he came back from injury, because the existing squad was playing so well. Only in Pakistan. Feel sorry for you guys.

  • Sammy K on March 14, 2016, 23:58 GMT

    Pakistan could surprise everyone. Being underdogs they feel no pressure. If they can then play freely they could surprise us all. As a Bangladeshi and a Tiger fan, I hope we are not at the receiving end. I feel Bd and Pakistan are evenly matched and it can be anybody's game. If Tamim and a few others are on fire then we stand a very good chance. If the Pakistani bats are singing, that would trouble the Tigers for sure. Should be a exciting contest. Go Tigers!

  •   Talib Raza Pirani on March 14, 2016, 22:14 GMT

    Being a Pakistani fan, I have been really disappointed lately due to our recent form and performance. No doubt, #Afridi getting out so quickly, neither containing runs nor taking wickets as well as not being able to lead from the front. These are the times of frustration, but the worst time to criticize Afridi and #TeamPakistan as they really need our support. Obviously, I have to support my home team as I bleed green but I got to say that India are the favorites for #WCT202016 , considering their recent form and home advantage. Let's promote peace and harmony, support each other and make this one memorable tournament, does not matter Pakistan win or lose, let's make sure that in the end, cricket wins. And here is BESTXI, I think Pakistan should play: Sharjeel, Shehzad, Latif, Sarfaraz, Akmal, Malik, Afridi, Imad, Wahab, Amir, Irfan

  • Nish on March 14, 2016, 19:42 GMT

    @SCOOBY_007 As we know, T20 cricket is a bit of a lottery & so you never know - so don't lose hope yet friend. Think all the past WC winners in this format were not the favourites when each tournament started nor has any home team won it to date - so personally think any of the top eight teams has a chance of winning it. Anyway let us hope for a Ind-Pak final again!

  • RAVICHANDRAN on March 14, 2016, 18:42 GMT

    Afridi might be a pale shadow of the player he once was but he still is sort of a legend in his own way and a great ambassador for the game

  •   Mg Gm on March 14, 2016, 18:14 GMT

    Surprising but it is good truthful comments from players! Hope this will change people in Pakistan about love and friendship wins over hetaerism. Lets try.

  • Saq on March 14, 2016, 15:01 GMT

    @Coolcapricorn: That's not the kind of consistency that inspires confidence. A duck, given 40 runs with the ball and may happen to take a catch in the field. Basically, a passenger in the team. Hope he doesn't un-announce his retirement. Your team, India, is doing great. We'll be out in the group stages. Best of luck to you guys. And see you next WC.

  • Syed on March 14, 2016, 12:40 GMT

    Afridi playing purely as captain who can neither bat or bowl.

  • Amjad Sultan on March 14, 2016, 12:32 GMT

    After 2 months Imad wasim gets suspect bowling action or may be after t20world cup because of he is getting wickets and not Indian player or not playing in IPL, bad form for big player Afridi will be back in main round.

  • Nish on March 14, 2016, 12:10 GMT

    @SCOOBY_007 Atleast Afridi is very consistent in his batting....he always lasts just one ball!

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