India v Pakistan, World T20, Group 2, Dhaka

Afridi's form a boost, says Hafeez

Abhishek Purohit

March 20, 2014

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A
We have the allrounders' edge - Hafeez


Shahid Afridi is joined by team-mates after winning the match, India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 2, 2014
Pakistan are hopeful Shahid Afridi can produce an encore of his Asia Cup innings in the first match of the World Twenty20 © AFP
Enlarge

Mohammad Hafeez has said that Shahid Afridi's blows that won Pakistan an Asia Cup thriller against India earlier this month in Mirpur have boosted the side's morale ahead of their World T20 opener against their archrivals. Afridi is expected to play a significant role in the tournament despite not being fully fit, as Hafeez admitted. Afridi joined the squad late, taking time to recover from a hip strain.

"He is in good form and we have seen that in the Asia Cup," Hafeez said of Afridi. "It is a good sign for us because we always wanted him to bat lower down the order and finish the game well for Pakistan, and it is always great to know that he is in form, and in a good frame of mind. It is always great when your senior players are looking forward to challenges. The way the momentum has shifted, it is a boost for our morale. I hope he repeats his heroics and pleases Pakistani fans again.

"Afridi's fitness has improved quite a bit. He has made himself available for everything. This is a good sign. He's not 100% still but he's ready and fit to play this tournament. He is eager to put in a good performance."

Hafeez was also pleased with Umar Gul's returns in the practice game against New Zealand, where the fast bowler took 3 for 16 from four overs.

"Umar Gul is working very hard. After the Asia Cup, where he did not do too well, he has picked up and performed well in the practice matches. That is all you want from your players. All they can do is work hard. Form can go up and down, but if they are willing to work hard it sends the right signal to the team. That is exactly what Gul has done."

Pakistan also have the services of a few allrounders, including Hafeez, and MS Dhoni said sides that could call upon such multi-skilled players were "blessed". Hafeez seconded the sentiment.

"As far as the all-rounder edge is concerned, yes, we do believe we have a good allrounders in the group. We have Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, myself, Kamran Akmal as wicketkeeper-batsman, so we are blessed to have players like that in the team and hopefully that will help us."

Hafeez was not too perturbed by Pakistan's winless record against India in World Cups and World T20s and he believed their collapse in the second warm-up against South Africa, where they were dismissed for 71, was unlikely to affect them too much in the tournament.

"It's not that every day has to be great," he said. "Some days are good and some bad. We have good batsmen in our team. In the second practice match, our objective was to give a few people time in the middle. We achieved that."

While Hafeez acknowledged the build-up of an India-Pakistan game among fans, he cautioned that it was only one of several games that Pakistan would have to play in the tournament.

"It is always great to know the expectations of the people and the fans around the world. We are not considering only one game at the time," he said. "Yes, an India-Pakistan game is always important but this is not the whole tournament and we want to give a good show in the whole tournament. The first game is always important as you want to do well in that game so that you can get the momentum right. We are looking forward to this and hopefully the boys will do well to get the best results for Pakistan."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Abhishek Purohit

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mars2009 on (March 21, 2014, 15:48 GMT)

@mzm149 - Congratulation , three patriotic friends Kamran, Hafeez & Shoaib Malik did their job.

Posted by GermanPlayer on (March 21, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

@missionbegins2011 Afridi nearly got to his average of 8 against India in T20s. Must have been a good outing for him, though I am sure he'd be disappointed that he didn't hit that one six he always hits before getting out.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

I like the Pakistani supporters. They speak the real think.

Posted by ArhamCricketLover on (March 21, 2014, 13:13 GMT)

I agree with FRpunk. I also don't understand why Shoaib Malik is in the team and Fawad Alam is not. The best I can figure out is that the selection is poor and hence it results in losing the game.... P.S They should also not put Sohail Tanvir in the squad.... Good Luck Pakistan...:)

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 13:00 GMT)

playing 100 and firing in 1; you are kidding me or yourself ??? Afridi is most successful player in T20 both with bat and ball. averages 22 with 147SR; 3rd leading wicket taker.

Haters please get a checkup before your criticize afridi.

Posted by missionbegins2011 on (March 21, 2014, 11:07 GMT)

Afridi has a mind blowing average of 8.75 against IND in T20's, that should pretty much sum up every thing...

Posted by UbairKash on (March 21, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

I am sure for the people who are criticising Afridi are scared bcoz he iz the big threat for India. When he gets going then no body can stop him especially indian bowlers. I would like to add that both the teams are well balanced and one who play better will win the day as simple is that. My prayers are with my team and also good luck for the men in Green.

Posted by missionbegins2011 on (March 21, 2014, 7:50 GMT)

playing 100 matches and firing in one has been the story of Afridi's career. Afridi was failing miserably before the IND match in Asia cup. With such inconsistency it is foolish to pin hopes on the player.

@Deesh_Banneheka: SL should consider themselves lucky if they do manage to go past the first round, that too despite being in an easier group where only SA the real force

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 3:53 GMT)

pakistan always chokes at a big stage against india and its history what 6th sense says is histroy will repeat again if india will bowl first its almost done that pakistan will end as a losing side with the amount of talent that india have in their batting unit and for pakistani bowlers i have nt seen them defending big totals in bangladesh even it reminds me of 2012 asia cup where its about 330 and india chased it easily well better luck to both of them i hope better team will lift on a day :)

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 23:01 GMT)

There is no such thing as Afridi in good form. He can get himself out on the first ball as much as the 10th ball. You can say Afridi's luck is a boost.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 20:24 GMT)

He is not fully fit. Then we also have Kamran Akmal. I am a Pak fan but would be betting on India.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

Pakistan has poor team selection. I fail to understand why Fawad Alam is not part of the team after such a great performance in Asia Cup. Just so that failures Sohaib Malik and Kamran Akmal can be included in team. Its about time we get rid of them both.

Posted by FRpunk on (March 20, 2014, 18:31 GMT)

I Don`t Understand Why Shoiab Malik is in the Team and Fawad Alam is not . Fawad has been in Great Form Lately and that too in the Same Conditions in which this World Cup will be played . Pakistan will be the Favorites to Win this Emotional Tie but The thing is that Pakistan Always Choke against India in the Big Stage . Will pakistan End the Streak or Will India l Bleed Blue and win this One . Can`t Wait . Ind vs Pak .

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 17:50 GMT)

I don't think it is a good idea to play Afridi. If he is injured and not fully fit, he will be slow. Slow in the field and slow in the running between the wickets. Now that is very crucial. So maybe just maybe, let him rest.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

i just dont understand why people sending comment relating to who will win the WC. People should only comment about the current match i.e. India Vs Pakistan. Both sides are well balanced. it just depend upon who take the chances.

Posted by Big3BOSS on (March 20, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

He says "e have good batsmen in our team. In the second practice match, our objective was to give a few people time in the middle. We achieved that."

Still trying to figure out how getting all out for 71 is time in middle?????????????????

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 15:52 GMT)

yes if Afridi can fire then it will boost pakistan's chance. but they should not risk him if he is not fit. he should not have been played in warm up game. Anyway, yes this is the 1st game and team who will be consistent enough during whole tournament will win. this is not the whole tournament. A pressure game and i think there is more hype among fans and media than the players. It is always good to start well in tournaments. this group is not that easy group so each game will be important and no margin for errors.

Umar gul bowled well in warm ups. weak links are Sharjeel and Shoaib Malik.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 15:52 GMT)

Fawad Alam who did so well in Asia cup just recently is being ignored. This is typical of Pakistani team selectors stupidity. I don't understand their selection logic.

Posted by santhoshmuthukumaran on (March 20, 2014, 15:48 GMT)

Going by the current form, India will win cup, Sri Lanka will be last

Posted by Deesh_Banneheka on (March 20, 2014, 15:27 GMT)

as sriLankan fan I wanted to wish u PAK & I think even BAD can beat IND on upcoming match without much power...

Posted by WeeBee on (March 20, 2014, 15:17 GMT)

YES! ..... i really want Afridi to do better tom! ..yup all team as well

Comments have now been closed for this article

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Abhishek PurohitClose
Related Links
Tournament Results
India v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Apr 6, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
India v South Africa at Dhaka - Apr 4, 2014
India won by 6 wickets (with 5 balls remaining)
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 3, 2014
Sri Lanka won by 27 runs (D/L method)
Pakistan v West Indies at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
West Indies won by 84 runs
Bangladesh v Australia at Dhaka - Apr 1, 2014
Australia won by 7 wickets (with 15 balls remaining)
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days