Bangladesh v Pakistan, World T20 2016, Group 2, Kolkata March 15, 2016

'We can surprise people' - Waqar Younis

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Chappell: Afridi is all over the place

Having been received warmly in Kolkata by security personnel and queues of escort vehicles, Pakistan had quickly strode to a warm-up win against Sri Lanka. In that match, the top order made good contributions, and the bowling was both miserly and menacing.

Before they landed in India, though, Pakistan had had to fight some fires. There was the standard political wrangling that accompanies Pakistan's matches in and against India. There was also a late change to the squad, as well as faint rumours that team management were dissatisfied with Shahid Afridi's particular brand of leadership.

As coach Waqar Younis reminded his charges, though, all this is in the past. When has Pakistan ever been trouble free? And when has trouble ever stopped them?

"I hope the controversy won't affect the players," Waqar said. "We had a bit of drama before coming here. We had a bit of controversy yesterday also. My message to the boys is to leave everything behind, because this is about playing for the nation. This is about playing some quality cricket, which we are all capable of. We are a kind of a team that wins once we click - once we get the momentum - we can surprise people."

The man who may have to lead the clicking and momentum-making is Afridi, who did not have a good first outing in India. He bagged a golden duck in the practice game, and then delivered four overs for 40 runs. He also missed training with a fever on Tuesday, but Waqar backed the Pakistan T20 captain to get better on all counts.

"Twenty20 is such a format that you can be just one good innings away from good form," Waqar said. "We are hoping this is the story in Shahid's scenario too. Today it's better for him to take rest as it's warm out there, so we've left him in the hotel room."

Pakistan had won each of the first seven T20s they had played against Bangladesh, before 2014. Recently though, tables have begun to turn. Bangladesh have won both encounters in the past year, though they played those games in home conditions.

"Every team has the right to improve, and it is good for world cricket and for Bangladesh," Waqar said. "For the last 18 to 24 months, they have been playing really good cricket. We saw it at the World Cup and against us as well - against the South Africans and the Indians also. They are becoming a good side and we have got plenty of respect for them. But this is a big stage.

"It's definitely different conditions to Bangladesh. But when you play good cricket, as they are, conditions don't really matter that much. We have to be really watchful, and we have to come out really strong to beat them tomorrow."

Pakistan are historically among the most successful World T20 teams, but the favourites tag has avoided them this time. Waqar said form within the tournament was much more important than good results in the approach to it.

"You can't call anything impossible because all the teams have come here to win," he said. "If you look at all the World T20 events that have happened before, none of the teams that won were thought of as the favourites when the event began. India or Pakistan when they won last time, Sri Lanka, West Indies - none of them were big guns of that event. This T20 version is such that if you play well in those three weeks, you can win the cup. I would not say anyone is a favourite here."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • I-tell-you on March 16, 2016, 12:52 GMT

    @ Indralika - You can't blame Chapel. The problem with Pakistan and Afridi is that they perform in one match and then not perform for about 10 matches. Altough he has played well today, well done to him. But we fans have had enough of Waqar (the coach) and Afridi (the captain). Sooner they leave the better for long term development of Cricket - now that will be a surprise.

  • Indralipika on March 16, 2016, 11:33 GMT

    Afridi proved Ian Chapel wrong. Chapel unnecessarily criticized Afridi before the game and Afridi replied with 49 runs in 19 runs with 4 sixes an 4 fours, a great example of leadership. Bangladesh at mid point has only 10% chance to win in pursuit of the target 202. Indra Chaudhury from Canada

  • mohddar on March 16, 2016, 10:59 GMT

    God has heard our prayers finally- Afridi at No-4 and it is proving so useful and positive decision. It does not matter whether you lose or win- as long as you play your cards intelligently. Please continue with this attitude. Afridi will surely fail in next couple of innings , which is human unlike you are Virat kohli, but then he will come and play great cricket again. Good gutsy move and positive attitude from Waqar Yonus etal.

  •   Latty Caty on March 16, 2016, 9:24 GMT

    yup, he is right, 4 down at 1 run. that kind of surprises :)

  • ambalal on March 16, 2016, 9:10 GMT

    Time for BD to prove its mettle outside BD. BD is inform team, but even if two batsman from Pakistan click it could become a one sided match. The biggest surprise is that Pakistan has to live with erratic Afridi.

  • Afgun_Mujahid on March 16, 2016, 9:09 GMT

    Pakistanis must prepare themselves for another heartache BD will deliver that insha Allah support from Afghanistan.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on March 16, 2016, 9:00 GMT

    I'm not sure I understand Waqar. Would the surprise be Pakistan beating Bangladesh or Pakistan losing to Bangladesh? Personally I wouldn't be surprised either way, no matter which team Pakistan play considering how hit and miss they are. What would be a surprise is a consistent, solid, intelligent, all round team performance from Pakistan. If that happens I may die of shock.

  • truecric_fan on March 16, 2016, 8:56 GMT

    Pak is definitely the least talented team in this WC. Big Zero in Batting. Look forward to a big thrashing on Sat.

  • Kamranaliawan on March 16, 2016, 8:56 GMT

    Yes indeed you've surprised us by btinging down Pakistan Team to 8 in ODI.. Not sure, whatelse to surprise more by losing from Kenya???

  • allowedkku on March 16, 2016, 8:53 GMT

    Pak X1 vs Bangladesh should be. 1.Ahmed 2.Sharjeel 3.Akmal 4.Hafeez 5.Sarfraz 6.Malik 7.Afridi 8.Imad 9.Whab 10.Amir 11.Irfan Pak will win the match 100%

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