West Indies v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Providence July 14, 2013

'It is time for me to give a lot to the team' - Afridi

ESPNcricinfo staff

In his last 10 matches before the ODI against West Indies in Guyana, Shahid Afridi had scored 142 runs at an average of 17.75 and had taken just three wickets. It was a run of failure that had forced his ouster from the Pakistan team for the Champions Trophy. But after staging possibly one of the greatest ODI comebacks, that helped Pakistan thrash West Indies by 126 runs in the first ODI in Guyana, Afridi said his goal going into the game was to give back to the team and not just 'survive'.

"I try hard and I back myself and I want to thank people back home," Afridi said. "It is not time for me to just survive in the team, but to give a lot to the team. It was not easy to survive so I tried to stay positive."

On a pitch where batsmen from both sides struggled to score runs, Afridi's 76 came off 55 balls and his 120-run partnership with Misbah-ul-Haq rescued Pakistan from a dangerous 47 for 5.

"Whenever I got the ball in my zone I went for it," Afridi said. "I knew Misbah was at the other end. I knew he would stay till the end, it gave me the confidence to go after it."

Afridi, who finished with seven wickets for 12 runs, making it one of the best all-round performances in ODI cricket, was thrilled with his bowling: "Oh wow, wow, wow, wow what a pitch it was for me to bowl on. I just kept it simple, and it worked."

Calling the track 'one of the more difficult pitches' he had played on, Misbah said he targeted a score of 200, as he believed it would challenge the West Indies batting.

"It was a much-needed performance," Misbah said. "Especially the way Shahid Afridi played. It is one of the more difficult pitches I have played on. It was seaming, it was stopping, it was really difficult to middle the ball. I thought if we could reach 200, we could fight. And Shahid helped me. On a pitch that it was difficult to middle the balls Shahid was hitting fours and sixes. Jason Holder bowled well. The fielding was wonderful. Everybody was charged up. Every bowler bowled well."

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo called it "a game to forget". Bravo praised his bowlers, specially Jason Holder, for their early spells, which reduced Pakistan to 47 for 5, but said a player like Afridi could simply change the momentum of the game. Bravo also stressed that his batsmen would need to regain their confidence quickly if West Indies had to draw level with Pakistan by winning the second ODI on Tuesday.

"It's hard to pinpoint where we went wrong. As a batting unit, we let ourselves down," Bravo said. "Coming after the last two disappointing games in Trinidad, we came here to Guyana, we had a good practice session. I think the batters lacked confidence and as a batting group, the team lacked runs. They have a very good bowling attack, so credit to the Pakistan team. They got to a good total after 47 for 5. Afridi changed the momentum, but he played his part with the ball, also. We should give credit to them, they outplayed us. It's something we have to definitely look at again."

While admitting that the team played badly, Bravo ruled out any changes to the side, saying it wouldn't help West Indies.

"That XI was our best XI and we believe in the team," Bravo said. "We have to back the players who did it for us, but yeah, making changes after one game is not going to help. We have to give players the opportunity to continue to get back that form and we know how dangerous our key players can be once they get back into form. Changes will not sort the problem, it is a more mental situation, so once you get over that, we're going to be fine."

In spite of a poor day in the field, Bravo said his bowlers had improved from their last two games against India and Sri Lanka in the tri-series. "One of our biggest improvements from the last two games in Trinidad was the last 10 overs," Bravo said. "They only scored around 50 runs in the last 10 overs, while in the games in Trinidad, the teams scored over 100 runs in the last 10 overs."

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  • Ata on July 18, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    One fact about Afridi, he played 234 ODIs from 1996 to 2006, and got 15 man of the match awards during this period, from 2007 to 2013 he has played 122 ODIs and got 15 man of the matches awards, during this period from 2007 to 2013 only MS Dhoni have got 16 man of the match awards but he played 167 matches as compared to 122 of Afridi. This show that Afridi performance as match winning player has improved during this phase, pertinent to mention here Misbah has played almost same no of matches (123) and only managed to get 3 man of the match awards.

  • Dummy4 on July 17, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Kumar do u knw what was the age of Afridi when he smashed 100 of 37 balls?

  • Perumal on July 16, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    what a warrior he is ... honestly when i was small he made me to cry while playing against India .. fastest fifty ... fastest hundered .... had he been good at shot selection he would have broken all the records of sachin and best bowlers record in the world. Salutes from Indian fan .. truely lion

  • Jalaj on July 15, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    He is a much better bowler than our indian part timers such as raina or yuvraj or sehwag who promise much but hardly deliver. If he gets a chance in the IPL next year and boy if he gets going I think bcci are going to earn much more revenues.

  • Rayhan on July 15, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    People pointing to Afridi's 350 intl games and 37 odd scores of over 50 should remember, that over 100 games were played where he batted 6 or lower. This doesn't give enough time to score big. In this team, he along with Ajmal are true champions who can stand up with other good players. The rest lack in confidence and their body language is very weak. This team needs an Afridi for a couple of years - yes, he should perform to stay in. But kicking him out for the likes of Shoaib, Farhat, Kamran is very unfair. If there are good younger players, no one, including Afridi should be allowed to stop them from coming in. But please not for undeserving players from Punjab.

  • Nasser on July 15, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Afridi has done nothing unusual in this game. He is absolutely brilliant in ONE match contributing heavily in a Pakistan win. Then he is an absolute failure in 9 games contributing usually in a Pakistan loss. On basis of performance, he is not up to scratch and should not be kept in the team. His inclusion from now on should purely be on the basis of a bowler, and he has a good record in ODIs. His batting should be only treated as a bonus when it comes off. He should play no higher than position 6 or 7 generally. It must be noted that in the 10 previous ODIs, he scored 142 runs @ 17.75 and took 3 expensive wickets.

  • Stephen on July 15, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    come on bravo you got to be joking .you , pollard and devon smith will have to be connected with people upstairs .no changes huh .carry on but not for as long as you like for time longer than twine .

  • beverly on July 15, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    "One of our biggest improvements from the last two games in Trinidad was the last 10 overs," Bravo said. "They only scored around 50 runs in the last 10 overs, while in the games in Trinidad, the teams scored over 100 runs in the last 10 overs." I am getting the impression that Bravo does not quite know what he really means when he talks about "progress"! You cannot equate Pakistans batting with the awesome line up that India and Sri Lanka to a lesser extent have. Pakistan has the weakest batting among the 8 traditional teams - and by now it appears to be worst second only to the West indies! So Pakistan scoring round abot 50 runs in the last 10 overs don't necessarily mean that the bowlers have improved. These guys need to analyse situations in accordance with their context. And Mr Bravo it is unfair to ask us to "BACK OUR PLAYERS" when "THEY ARE NOT BACKING THEMSELVES"!

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    That statement from Bravo is simply the reason why we have the problem we have. Why should we persist with Pollard? Now if he goes and makes a quick fire score all of a sudden he is the best thing and then 10 scores worth nothing. Its clear to me Pollard is in the inner circle and will not just be dropped no matter ho badly he plays while other players more worthy of a shot just sit and watch. Why not bring in Powell or just about anybody's aunt. They will do no worst. But when a man is given captaincy in the absence of Bravo when we have Gayle and Sammy in the squad then you know he ain't going nowhere. I think this is going to be the end of Sammy as a captain and player for tests and T20s as well. Maybe they think they have brought the team to a place now so they don't need him and i think he knows it as well.

  • beverly on July 15, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Afridi's situation in Pakistani cricket reminds me very much of SRT''s case in India. I hardly think that there have ever been two sportsmen who are more loved by their nationals. I guess it is a genuine love that grew out of a deep sympathy for them, due to the very youthful age at which they were given the first opportunity to represent their respective country, in the sporting field that their nationals love so much. The main sameness about them is that they both have been given so much more opportunities than their colleagues to correct their mistakes when they fail! However, Sachin corrects his mistakes on a very regular basis, but nearly everytime, it serves only to enhance his own records and not necessarily to enhance his teams standing in world cricket. Afridi on the other hand is a regular failure, but whenever he comes off, it has always been for the cause of his team! But, the most common thing about them is that they're both the most fallible GODS ever to be worshipped!

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