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November 28, 2007
Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi wants Shoaib Malik, the captain, to be "tough and demanding" to get the most out of his players in order for Pakistan to fight back in the Test series. Pakistan are trailing 0-1 in the three-Test series after India won by six wickets in Delhi.
"If a player is not performing to his optimum level, the captain must be tough and demand more. I think our team was in a position to win the first Test," Afridi, who was omitted from the Test squad after the one-day series defeat, told PTI.
"Experience counts for a lot and [Anil] Kumble led their team well and intelligently. Malik can also do a similar job but he needs to be confident ahead of the second Test and must push the players to do better."
However, Moin Khan, a former Pakistan captain and wicketkeeper, said that Malik could not be blamed because captaincy happened too suddenly for him.
"He [Malik] doesn't have the captaincy experience," Moin told Cricinfo. "He just captained his regional side for some Twenty20 games and suddenly he becomes the captain of the national side. It is going to take time for him to develop. The problem lies with the board. They should have groomed a captain." Moin felt the Test captaincy could have been given to Mohammad Yousuf while Malik could have continued to be the captain in the ODIs.
Afridi said that Pakistan were in a strong position when they gained the lead on the third evening in Delhi. However, on the fourth morning, they lost their last five wickets for 35 runs and set India a target of only 203. Afridi said that the batsmen needed to apply themselves more.
"The batting didn't go all the way after a good start. I have no doubt if we had got another 80 to 100 runs, we could have won this Test match," Afridi said. "It was disappointing to lose out in the end. I am sure the rest of the team will be eager to make a comeback in the second Test in Kolkata. But the other bowlers also need to give more support to Shoaib Akhtar."
Shoaib, who took six wickets including all four to fall in India's second innings, received little support from the other bowlers. Danish Kaneria, the legspinner, was especially disappointing, going for 0 for 50 in the final innings.
"They must have tried hard but the results are important," Afridi said. "I was surprised that Kaneria didn't take more wickets on this pitch. I think he was not as effective because of his shortened run-up. He will get more bite into his bowling if he goes back to his old bowling action which allows him more flight and turn."
"It is just a matter of getting back the confidence. In 2005, when we were down in the series, we only came back in the final Test in Bangalore because we believed we could do it and Inzamam [ul-Haq] kept telling us we were close to squaring the series. But the batting must click big time like it did in Bangalore."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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