India v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Asia Cup, Dambulla

Afridi praises team unity

Siddarth Ravindran in Dambulla

June 20, 2010

Comments: 90 | Text size: A | A

Shoaib Akhtar tested the Indian batsmen, India v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Asia Cup, Dambulla, June 19, 2010
Shoaib Akhtar has made a satisfactory return to international cricket © Associated Press
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For the second time in this Asia Cup, Pakistan went down after running the opposition close. Defeat against India eliminated them from the competition and stretched their losing streak to nine, just one short of their worst run, which came in 1987-88.

Their captain, Shahid Afridi, remained optimistic that the team would soon turn the corner. Pakistan came into the competition after a fresh round of churning in their set-up, with recalls for hard-to-manage players like Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar. Afridi felt the big plus from the matches so far was the united dressing room, unlike on some of Pakistan's recent tours.

"The state from which we are emerging, a new captain, some new players, keeping that in mind, this is a good improvement," Afridi said after the match, praising his players for their effort. "Hopefully the results will also start to improve. Consistency is not there in our performance, we showed a fighting spirit as a team, there was a unity on display, these are good signs."

Another bonus for Pakistan was the fitness of Shoaib, who looked less haggard than in the tournament opener, and delivered a testing spell to the Indian openers. Afridi felt Shoaib's workload needed to be carefully monitored to extend his career. "Shoaib bowled well in the first spell with the new ball," he said. "I think he can prolong his career till the 2011 World Cup, because we are playing a lot of Test cricket before that and I'm not giving him a chance against every team; like the game against Bangladesh day after tomorrow, he is resting."

Pakistan's tried out yet another opening combination against India, bringing in Imran Farhat for youngster Shahzaib Hasan, to partner vice-captain Salman Butt. The pair saw off the new ball, adding 71 in the process, and with No. 3 Shoaib Malik picking off the singles with ease, Pakistan looked set for a bigger score than the 267 they ended up with.

"The sort of start we got, we should have scored somewhere between 280 and 290,"Afridi said. "But they bowled well, especially their fast bowlers."

Afridi explained the rationale for bringing back Farhat after giving Shahzaib only one chance. "Early on it's not easy to attack on this wicket, Shahzaib is an aggressive player and has to change his game a lot here. I thought Farhat is more of a straight-bat player who takes his time, so we went with him."

After the dead rubber against Bangladesh on Monday, Pakistan embark on a taxing assignment in England, where they have full series against the hosts and Australia. "There is some tough cricket coming up, we will be playing Test cricket after a while, the problems of the past are not there anymore, and we are playing as a unit, let's see how it goes."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (June 23, 2010, 17:28 GMT)

Hahaha 2-0 Australia and 3-0 England! Just wait and watch brother, i am going to add you on facebook now, i dont want to lose you when Pakistan wins a game in England ;) And believe me or not, Pakistan is going to give both the teams a very hard time in England! And believe me, i am not being sentimental, its just a gut feeling! Do remember what you just predicted, 2-0 Australia and 3-0 England! :)

Posted by   on (June 23, 2010, 14:16 GMT)

check out sehwag's performance in australia..u have conveniently ignored that..neways dude wish u all the best for england tour..hope u guys win!! I know pakistan has a better record in england..but that was till wasim was playing..since then its gone downhill. Dude your team quality wise is not the same..neways no point arguing as we both love our respective teams..btw 2 nil australia and 3-0 england..u can catch me on FB after the series..

Posted by   on (June 23, 2010, 12:40 GMT)

Hahaha Karan dude dont take it to your heart brother, Sehwag, again Sehwag is nothing outside Subcontinent, Sehwag averages 26.44 in South Africa, 20.00 in New Zealand and 39 in England! Oh yeah, Dravid and Laxman are great batsmen, no doubt about it! and check this out brother, this will help you a great deal!

(Pakistan's record in England)

http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/team/7.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;host=1;opposition=1;result=1;result=2;result=4;template=results;type=team;view=results

(India's record in England)

http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/team/6.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;host=1;opposition=1;result=1;result=2;result=3;result=4;template=results;type=team;view=results

Check this out and you will find out which one is the better team in England lol! England tour has mostly been good for Pakistan team, they have won more matches and series in England than India! so you dont need to worry about what Pakistan will do in England! be worried about india! Cheers :)

Posted by   on (June 22, 2010, 16:08 GMT)

Dear Zubair Khan: Have u ever heard of rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, sehwag ??..dude do one thing just check how many test matches both our respective teams have won outside the subcontinent since 2000..Indians cant play short pitched stuff, cant bowl, cant field but we still win..period!! And just for ur kind information, we last toured England in 2007 and won the test series 1-0..Check the results of our last two series in Australia, England, West indies, South Africa(2006) and NZ (2009) and u will get the answer..By the way we won in pakistan too (remember 2004, when shoaib and sami were supposed to rout us!). Dude the thing is, it is hard for u to digest that India is better team than Pakistan over the last 4-5 years..I admit that in 90's with Wasim at the helm you were a better team..time for u to acknowledge the current situation.. Best of luck for the English tour and I will definitely think about you when your team gets thrashed.. Awaiting your reply

Posted by   on (June 22, 2010, 10:42 GMT)

@Karan Nangia, lol, if you talk about the batting line up than except for Tendulkar and Dhoni, i dont find a proper test player for India! Dhoni's average is quite low in tests as compared to the ODIs! Your "Great Batting Line Up" was just worked out by almost every team when they pitched the ball short and your batsmen looked like jumping jokers :) And yeah, we should wait till the England tour and assess the performance of Pakistani team, which i feel will be much better than what India will do in England! And the same "Over Rated" Shoaib Akhter will be the spearhead of our bowling line up, bowling with him will be Asif (Best bowler as far as the conditions in England are concerned) and M. Amir (The upcoming sensation) so i dont think it is over rated, it is infact going to become the best bowling line up in one years time. And yes, watch out for the World Cup 2011! Pray for India to atleast reach the SEMIS :)

Posted by Nervewrecker on (June 21, 2010, 19:11 GMT)

@Nimantha_silva: My outburst was entirely a rush of blood to the head on being offended by another Sri Lankan fan. However, I apologise to all other sensible cricket fans of Sri Lanka.

Posted by   on (June 21, 2010, 15:38 GMT)

@zubair khan: Yes we dont have an out and out quick bowler who can destroy a team in a sesison..but we still win..yes to stay at the top we need to have consistent bowlers. You guys have a better bowling attack but u hardly win..thats the bottomline.. and one more thing, if u read Ian Chappel's comments about pakistan, you will find them really embarassing..Your current bowling line up is over rated..shoaib just performanced once in calcutta in 1999, but after that he has been a burden on u guys..sami deserves no mention..yes umar and asif are quality bowlers who " should " do well in england.. As far as the tour of england is concerned, weather permitting pakistan will not be able even save a test match..thats how weak the team is.There is not one test match batsmen worth his salt. Hope to catch u once again after the England tour..:-)

Posted by Vilander on (June 21, 2010, 12:17 GMT)

actually ind and pak are not arch rivals for being that there needs to be a rivalary, pak at the moment are a poor team. A full strength india is unbeatable for pak.

Posted by   on (June 21, 2010, 11:18 GMT)

I see a lot of Pakistani cricketer viewers are more sentimental is all what I can see from few of their comments. In India we see & appreciate good cricket played all around & probably that is the one reason why our crickets perform well. My advice to the pak cricket lovers is Stop blaming be behing your team they need your support

Posted by   on (June 21, 2010, 11:10 GMT)

@Karan Nangia, I think you have missed out on what Ian Chappel had to say when India achieved the no.1 Test team position last year! I dont remember the exact words but you can search on the internet, he also pointed out the same thing i did, India doesnt have the right balance to remain the no.1 team in the world for longer period of time. Their bowlings lacks the depth! they dont have an express fast bowlers or a bowler who can come in at anytime of the match and destroy the opposition's batting line up when needed! A guy of Ian Chappel's calibre and experience cant be wrong. Did i say that Pakistan is a better team? Nopes, i didnt, i just said that India doesnt have the right bowling depth to be the best in any form of the game! Pakistan team's only problem have been their batting, but its becoming better now, they are building up a strong team consisting youngsters like Umer Akmal, Umer Amin, Shahzaib Hassan and M. Aamir! You will se a better Pakistan team in about a year or so!

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