ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, semi-final, Mohali

Shahid Afridi proud of Pakistan's performance

Osman Samiuddin at the PCA Stadium

March 30, 2011

Comments: 410 | Text size: A | A

Shahid Afridi pronounced himself "proud" of his team's performance in the World Cup and hoped that their reception on arrival in Pakistan would reflect the side's achievement in getting to the last four at a time when expectations were significantly lower.

Pakistan lost by 29 runs to India in Mohali in a scrappy match, in which they were generally off their game with bat, ball and, most damagingly, in the field. They were in with a chance at various stages, including when they began the chase, only to let it slip each time.

Afridi said the batting, their weaker suit, had been problematic again. There were several starts but no stand greater than the opening one of 44. "We were struggling to build partnerships right through the tournament," he said. "The matches where we had partnerships we made good scores. Because we couldn't make partnerships, today we struggled and played some bad shots at the wrong time as well."

But their run-in to the game, with only one loss in seven matches, came after another period of turmoil which saw them lose three key players in last year's spot-fixing scandal, including a dangerous new-ball opening pair in Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. To add to the instability, Afridi wasn't appointed captain until two weeks before the tournament began but an unheralded Pakistan side beat Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies en route to the semi-final.

Afridi had said before the tournament he wanted his team in the last four and despite the loss, seemed in generally upbeat mood. "I am proud of my team and the boys have done a great job in this World Cup. A few of the youngsters are very promising and we played as a unit. Winning and losing is something different but we really played really good cricket and no one was expecting us to play cricket like this. As captain I'm very happy."

Saeed Ajmal and Kamran Akmal rush to celebrate Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal with Shahid Afridi, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
Shahid Afridi: "To build this team and the effort we put in was phenomenal." © Getty Images

The run was Pakistan's best in a World Cup since 1999, when they were runners-up to Australia. In 2003 and 2007 they were eliminated before the knock-out stages, disastrous results which led to intense anger and criticism on their return. It is unlikely Afridi's side will receive a similar reception though already the early signs of reaction from Pakistan seemed to focus on Misbah-ul-Haq's slow batting in the chase as the cause of defeat.

"We have played better than those sides [of 2003 and 2007] and they were good sides," Afridi said. "We didn't have much hope from this side but I have respect for my team. Reception? We will go back, people will give us confidence, they backed us. If those people who make us stars say a little what's wrong with that? It's nothing big. Nobody wanted Pakistan to lose, we wanted to win, but people I think realize we gave it our all. To win six games from eight is a big achievement."

A few incidents apart, Pakistan went through the tournament without any major scandal and a visible sense of unity and togetherness within the squad. That in itself was a minor triumph given what had gone before. "The difficult circumstances we played cricket in, the difficult circumstances we have gone through in the last nine-ten months, to build this team and the effort we put in was phenomenal.

"I'd like to thank the PCB chairman for giving me support and the way the boys supported each other and me, the management and the coach, they really helped me a lot. To take a broken team, make it into a team for the World Cup and to perform like no one was expecting, I'm happy with that."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 410 
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Posted by Maneshae on (April 2, 2011, 18:24 GMT)

Now that its all over and done with. Afridi as a captain really united the team and all. However, if he wants to captain a real cracker of a team, he'll have to learn a thing or two. The semi final for example. That wasnt good captaincy at all. He needs to employ Imran Khan like tactics. Hes got a good head, but he needs some tutoring.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 12:11 GMT)

Afridi you dont have to be sorry. You made us all to be together after such a long time. I could see this in every Pakistanis eyes they all were cheering for one cause which we had lost, you were the one who turned this country into a nation for more dn a month. You dont have to be sorry for anything. You were born to be a Hero & so are you. I wish i could see you face to face & make you take the sorry back. Loveyou always no matter what. You are my hero.<3 Pakistan Zindabad.

Posted by MOHAMMED on (April 2, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

Going forward it is important that Pakistan has an intelligent captain, Afridi should retire, making press statements, stating Mishba played too slow, he is the captain and should have forced the powerplay, when he and Abdul Razzaq were batting. Overall i think - Pakistan if they want to be a world class side that actually wins anything they need to make changes - out with Afridi, Mishbah, Abdul Razzaq. Pakistan will produce good seamers- but it is time that a real batting coach is hired and batsman become the focus. Get the basic fixed, catching, playing straight, blowing straight. Learn from India and Sri Lanka - soon Bangladesh will be better. The Paksitan team is sadly a reflection of Pakistan.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

Well played Pakistan. But we can not afford to loose the cup.Just for the sake of our own God.

Posted by salman on (April 2, 2011, 8:23 GMT)

thank God this game has done something to decrease the enmity;not to increase it,congrates Indians Have a great final

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 7:40 GMT)

why sachin man of the match please?? to score 80 odd runs with four dropped catches is better than a young man who took 5 wickets in absorbing circumstances. Think about it!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

I am an Indian and I am now Boom Boom Afridi's fan!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

Shahid Afridi a real competitor..

Posted by Harsh on (April 2, 2011, 4:40 GMT)

Heartiest congragulations to Pakistan for their bold showing to reach the semi-finals after being written off at the start.It is admirable that inspite of their adverse circumstances they beat top class teams like Sri Lanka and Australia.They fought ferociously with their bowling attack lethal but their batting was highly disorganised.At one stage they semed favourites to win the semi-final but the wicket,the Indian fiery spirit and the lack of batting experience lost the day for Pakistan.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 2:20 GMT)

you have to love how pakistanis play with passion.. good work..

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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