Pakistan news October 13, 2014

'I'm not Misbah, Misbah is not me' - Afridi

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Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's T20 captain, has said that his style of leadership was extremely different from Misbah-ul-Haq. Afridi was speaking to ESPNcricinfo before the limited-overs series against Australia, during which he stood in for Misbah in the third ODI, a match Pakistan lost by one run.

"I know being aggressive sometime costs you game but captain is the one who sets an example," Afridi said. "But I strongly believe result and performance is something that comes later as the first thing is the effort and fight.

"Your body language on the field is the reflection of your intentions and people will look beyond the result or performance when they see your efforts," he said. "No one can predict that a player will take five wickets or score a 50. So what we can ensure is the fight regardless of the result at the end of the day."

Afridi had led Pakistan between August 2009 and the World Cup in 2011 before regaining the T20 captaincy ahead of the current series. With Misbah saying that it's not given that he would lead the side in the World Cup, some uncertainty has cropped up around the position. Afridi's aggressive style of leadership offers a contrasting option to Misbah's methods. However, Afridi added that he did not expect everyone to follow his approach and an individual should stick to the style suited to him.

"Every captain has his own approach and I can't be Misbah and Misbah can't be Afridi," he said. "If he is comfortable with his approach then what is the problem? But players around him should not become Misbah. Each player has his own strengths and he should carry out what he is capable of rather than suppressing himself."

"If he [Misbah] is winning matches with his approach then what is the problem? I am different and have an aggressive nature. I love to play aggressive cricket because people in my country are aggressive, my players are aggressive and I want them to play aggressive cricket. I love watching them playing aggressive in the field. I know when they play aggressive cricket, they are expressing themselves."

Afridi also said he had learnt his lessons from the previous term and he was an improved man since then. "Earlier, the time and the atmosphere was different after the spot-fixing," he said. "It was tough to gel the dressing room but I treated every player accordingly; younger were given affection and some needed to be given fear of the stick. You know our nation runs on the strength of a stick."

"But captaincy in Pakistan is a challenge. I was aggressive even off the field. It haunted my earlier stint. I have learnt the lesson though; things should be operated amicably. But my mindset in the field is the same as a leader is the one who should decide the playing XI, he is the one who has to get his boys to fight on the ground. He knows what he wants and he is the one who has to face everything after the match. Whoever is the captain, he should be given ample authority to pick his best players."

Afridi's batting has been a talking point since his debut. He has won a number of matches with the bat but his average in the ODIs is 23.22 and 18.88 in T20s. Afridi, though, insisted that over the last few years, he considers himself a bowler first.

"I have always insisted over the last three years that bowling is my strength and batting comes second, and it's a plus if it works," he said. "What can you expect when a batsman comes in at No. 7? But yes, I know my batting is also important because it plays a vital part in crucial stages and people expect my bat to fire."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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