Ads 468x60px

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Misbah-ul-Haq praises Shahid Afridi's role in uniting Pakistan team at World Cup

Misbah-ul-Haq knows it easily could have been he who was leading Pakistan into Wednesday's World Cup semifinal against India. Three days before the big match, though, he is quick to praise the influence of the man who was eventually given the role.
Test skipper Misbah was in the running for the World Cup captaincy, but Pakistan's performances in the February series in New Zealand led the selectors to keep faith with Shahid Afridi in the one-day format.
On the evidence of Pakistan and Afridi's performances so far, it appears to have been an inspired decision — even it was very, very late — and Misbah showed no sign of any bitterness.
"Everyone is standing behind him at the World Cup," Misbah said Sunday.
Unity hasn't always been a feature of Pakistan squads, and the selection of Afridi over Misbah led to fears that there might be a split in the camp between supporters of either player.
Misbah said one of Afridi's key qualities, however, is his willingness to listen to the opinions of players such as himself and Younis Khan, another former captain in the squad.
"I think there is always differences in opinion but we always talk to the captain about what he thinks," Misbah said. "He's really good at that.
"He listens to the players, especially the senior players and the coaches, we just decide everything with a good co-ordination, and that's why everything is going well. It's a big thing actually."
It helps when the captain is also the leading bowler in the tournament with 21 wickets.
"He has led the team by example," Misbah said. "He is performing really well, just taking wickets at the right time, so that really helps the team when the captain is performing like that."
Pakistan's team spirit has been one of the notable features of its run to the semifinals. Coach Waqar Younis believes the players have been united by the obstacles they have faced, including the suspension of international matches in their home country and the lengthy bans given to a trio of players following last year's spot-fixing scandal.
Experienced pace bowler Shoaib Ahktar was dropped from the starting XI midway through the group stage, but he hasn't complained and has continued to train energetically.
On Saturday, an intense training session included the players sparring with boxing gloves. On Sunday, the squad and support staff split into two teams for a lively game of football on the pitch at the PCA Stadium before getting back to the more routine work in the nets.
"The big plus is the team is really playing like a team," Misbah said. "If you saw the recent performances ... it's really just a good example of teamwork.
"Everyone is chipping in at the right time, putting the right input at the right time. Everyone is fulfilling the roles the team demands of them."
Misbah's point about everyone playing a part, rather than one star player standing out, is evident in Pakistan's batting performances. The team has won six of its seven matches, but no player has scored a century.
India's highly regarded batting lineup has scored four, including Virender Sehwag's 175 against Bangladesh in the opening match of the tournament.
Pakistan's highest score was Misbah's unbeaten 83 in the 11-run win over Sri Lanka.
"It's not a concern because we are winning. We will be happy if we win the World Cup without a single individual hundred," Misbah said. "It is no use if we get hundreds and are then knocked out of the tournament.
"It is an advantage getting big individual scores, but a timely score of 20, 30 or 50 is more important."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...