Team not affected by Haider's departure - Afridi
Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan limited-overs captain, has said his team was "not really" affected by the bizarre disappearance of wicketkeeper Zulqanain Haider on the morning before the fifth ODI against South Africa, and expressed hope that the ICC and PCB could sort out the problems affecting the team. South Africa beat Pakistan by 57 runs to take the five-match ODI series 3-2.
"We are trying from the start to get the team back to shape before the World Cup but something or other is coming up," Afridi said. "I hope that ICC and PCB solves the problem and sort these things so we can work towards building a good team, and ensure that there are no such problems in every match."
Afridi agreed that the turning point in the game came when Jacques Kallis took three wickets in three overs, including Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, but said it was not easy chasing huge totals "every time especially when we lose wickets quickly". He added he was was happy with the mental toughness Pakistan showed to get back in the series and win a couple of games.
"We played fairly well. We did not take pressure on ourselves, and every game we tried to motivate ourselves, which is a positive thing."
While acknowledging that his own contribution in the series was "very average", Afridi said the team needed to improve its overall fitness and fielding before the World Cup. "We have to improve a lot on fitness and strengthen the middle order when it comes to batting. We have one more series against New Zealand before the World Cup, so we must step up in some areas before the big event, and that is very important for us."