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Monday, March 28, 2011

Shahid ducks intense media hype

 Shahid Afridi changes the channel on his television set whenever the discussion moves to the Pakistan-India semifinal.

It’s proving to be quite an exercise for his thumb because all you can see on news channels in India these days is an intense pre-match coverage related to the March 30 encounter in Mohali.

“I’ve heard that the media here has created quite a hype around our World Cup semifinal against India,” said the Pakistan captain. “But I’m not watching it. Whenever they start flashing some story about it, I just change the channel and switch to something else. I have no time for it,” he told ‘The News’ here on Sunday.

Some of the Indian TV channels are portraying the semifinal as a ‘war’ between Pakistan and India on the cricket field.

However, Afridi believes that he and his team are in India to play a World Cup semifinal and that’s it. “There is no war, nothing like that. It’s a big cricket match for both the teams and I want on just focus on it,” he stressed.

The flamboyant allrounder said that he is also advising his teammates to do the same. “I’ve asked all the players to avoid watching news or discussions on TV shows and bulletins. It might distract them.”

Afridi is seen as a vital cog for Pakistan as they look to floor India in their own backyard. “I know that as captain and the team’s senior players I have a huge responsibility,” he said. “I’ve been really working hard and am confident that I’ll lead from the front against India. It’s a huge match not just because it’s against India but because a win in it will give us a place in the final.”

The allrounder, who is the tournament’s most successful bowler with 21 wickets, is pleased with the way his team’s preparations have been going in the lead up to the semifinal.

“We’ve had some really good training sessions here,” he said. “The boys are all focused and the best part is that they are all relaxed and not taking any pressure. How they will handle the pressure in the match is going to be the key and I’m confident that they will not face any problems in doing that. We are a good side and have the guts to face any situation.”
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