Ads 468x60px

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shahid Afridi pulls out of Pakistan's West Indies tour

Pakistan's World Cup captain, Shahid Afridi, has withdrawn from the country's tour to the West Indies.
A Pakistan Cricket Board source said the 31-year-old all-rounder had made himself unavailable for the tour, which starts on 18 April. "He will not be going to West Indies as apparently he wants to take a break from the game," said the source before adding that the player had spoken to the chairman of the PCB and explained he was not in the right frame of mind to go to the Caribbean.
Afridi quit Test cricket last year but had been expected to play in the one-day and Twenty20 matches against West Indies.
Pakistan were knocked out of the World Cup when they lost by 29 runs to India in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The flamboyant Afridi has appeared in 320 one-dayers, 27 Tests and 42 Twenty20 internationals for his country. Pakistan will play one Twenty20, five one-dayers and two Tests in the West Indies.

Afridi and Waqar, take a bow

There’s been something strange and oddly compelling watching Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis mold this Pakistan team. It’s difficult to precisely say why. If I were to put my finger on it, it’s probably because of the way they’ve personified that famous Walt Whitman quote – “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
For one thing, their defensiveness doesn’t quit fit with who we know them to be. Calling Waqar and Afridi “aggressive cricketers” would be like calling the Battle of Stalingrad a skirmish – both Waqar and Afridi, as individuals, play(ed) breathtakingly attacking cricket. And yet, their tactical decisions betray an almost-unPakistani mindset of containment and “good areas”. It almost makes no sense.
Then there’s the maturity, unity, togetherness and sense of camaraderie that has permeated this team. Where did it come from? Waqar famously led the revolt against Wasim Akram prior to the 1994 New Zealand tour, and was a central figure in the fractious 1990s, when we always seemed to have eight captains on the field at any one time. Afridi, for his part, has always been involved in some shenanigans or the other – biting a ballballet dancing on the no-go areas of the pitch, and even channeling his inner Inzamam in almost hitting a spectator with a bat.
And yet somehow, some way, these are the guys who’ve been at the forefront of a team that has practiced hard, that has maximised its potential, that has seen no serious disciplinary problems, that has backed each other and fought for each other. A team that didn’t suffer from selection controversies or dead coaches or players getting into dressing-room fights or getting caught with drugs – recreational or otherwise. No incidents at the airport or at their hotel or at a night club. No one faked injuries and no one sought asylum.
And here’s the kicker: the man universally described as having the smallest brain in Pakistan, Lala himself, gave one of the most honest, heartfelt, generous, intelligent and mature press conferences I’ve ever heard from anyathlete in any sport. Seriously, if you haven’t heard it, go have a listen. And remember, this is after suffering a heartbreaking loss on cricket’s biggest stage. Listening to that, I thought to myself: this is the same Afridi? The absolute nutter that is Afridi is suddenly a diplomat, winning Indian hearts and minds? Really? Evidently, yes.
Afridi and Waqar are, as a collective, the main reason I’m not terribly upset at the semi-final loss. Look, does losing to India hurt? Of course. Does losing a semi-final hurt? Well, yes. And when you combine the two, there’s an awful lot of hurt, no doubt. But these guys gave it their all. They were professional throughout. You can’t ask for more. I’m proud of them.
Plus, we’ve experienced worse. Bangalore 1996. Lord’s 1999. Sydney 2009. Those are just three off the top of my head that absolutely, positively, hurt more. This loss wasn’t even close to those.
My one criticism of the team management would be their penchant for pigeon-holing. If they decided that something, or someone, fit in a particular spot or a particular role, they didn’t budge. They needlessly restricted their own options.
Look at how we used our batting powerplays – in only one match did we take it before the 43rd over, and even the one time we used it “early” (against New Zealand) it was because we were 8 wickets down and the game was essentially over. Three times while chasing small totals – against ZimbabweAustralia and West Indies – we didn’t even use it, even though it could’ve helped our net run rate. We were stuck in a “must hit only in the last seven overs” mindset and refused to innovate.
Or examine some of our players and how they were used. I look at a guy like Mohammad Hafeez, and I think that this guy suffers from low expectations. He has the talent to score 100s but he gets out after 30 or 40 because he’s okay with getting out at 30 or 40. He thinks he’s done his job.
My sense is the management has told him “you’re an all-rounder – you have to chip in with wickets and you have to chip in with runs and you have to take catches.” All of which he does. But he could do more. He certainly has the ability to do more. But for that to happen, the management has to make it incumbent on him to do more. Set high expectations and not box him in as a “chip-in” player. Tell him: just because you can contribute with the ball doesn’t mean it’s okay to give it away after making 40. What I saw in that insane paddle against Munaf Patel was not necessarily someone who threw his wicket under pressure, but someone who thought he’d done his job. That’s partly his fault, but also partly the management’s fault – they see Hafeez as a “chip in player” and so he feels no need to exceed those expectations.
Our batting order, and the strategy of conserving wickets for the big hitters down the order, was another example of pigeon-holing. Everyone had their role, which can be a good thing. But the sheer inflexibility on display in our tactics – yes, Misbah and Younis, I’m looking at you – ultimately caused our demise. We were so beholden to a particular way of batting that we couldn’t adjust when we needed to.
Ultimately, these are minor quibbles. Be honest: if someone had offered us a platter of (a) winning our group, (b) beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and ending Australia’s 34-match winning streak in World Cups, and (c) a semi-final berth before the tournament started, we’d have taken it in a heartbeat.
And I’m going to savor the spirit and joie de vivre with which our team played, because I know it won’t last. This isn’t cynicism, it’s just me getting old enough to recognize patterns in our cricketing history. Our last period ofbhai-bhai-dost-dost was from about 2005 to 2006, when Inzamam united a pretty young team under his fatherly influence. The last one before that was Wasim’s third stint as captain, around 1999-2000, when he had learned some harsh lessons from earlier failures and became a better communicator and leader. But those periods prove to be transient for reasons that would require a post – or a book – on their own. The point for now is to just applaud and appreciate the men who’ve made us all proud, and the men who’ve led them: Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis, take a bow.

Akhtar's retirement timing wasn't right: Afridi

Critical of Shoaib Akhtar for announcing his retirement in the middle of the World Cup,Pakistan ODI captain Shahid Afridi on Friday claimed the pacer did not consult the team before making his decision public.

"His timing was not right and he should have properly consulted and spoken to us about his decision. He should have either announced his intention to retire before the start of the tournament or after it, it made no sense to announce his retirement in the middle of the World Cup," Afridi said on arrival after Pakistan's 29-run loss to India in the semifinals.

Akhtar announced his retirement from international cricket after the group match against New Zealand and was not given a game after that due to fitness issues.

Afridi also implored his countrymen to stop treating cricket matches with India as war and accept victory and defeat in a sporting manner.

"I don't understand why this hate aspect when we play India in cricket. Where is this feeling when we watch their movies and dramas in our living rooms and enjoy them? I don't think there is a need to treat matches with India like a matter of life and death. We need to take cricket as cricket," he told reporters.

Afridi said there was pressure on the players when they saw the build-up and hype to the match with India.

"Treat cricket like a sport," he stressed. The Pakistan skipper also advised senior players in the side to take a break and allow selectors to try new players on the forthcoming tour to the West Indies later this month.

"It is time for the selectors to look ahead and I think the coming tour is the best chance for them to give exposure to new players. Already we have uncovered good talent in Asad Shafiq and Wahab Riaz who played brilliantly in the semi final," he noted.

Afridi said he was satisfied with the way the team fought and supported him to reach the semifinals.

"Unfortunately the batting remained a problem in the tournament and our worst fears came true in the semifinal," he said.

CM Punjab receives members of Pak cricket team

Punjab Chief Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif has urged Pak team players to continue hard work with commitment to perform better in coming international cricket events. He was talking to media after receiving members of the Pakistan cricket team who arrived on Friday from India after taking part in the ICC world Cup.
Misbah ul Haq, Abdul Raazaq,Abdul Rehman, Kamran Akmal, Umer Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmad Shahzad,Shoaib Akhtar and Wahab Riaz along with team manager Intikhab Alam, coaches Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed were given warm welcome on their arrival at Lahore airport. Chief Minister Punjab along with Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board, Mohammad Ijaz Butt received the players who were profusely garlanded and showered with flowers petals on their arrival.
A big gathering of cricket lovers was also present at the airport to cheer the members of the cricket team.The people chanted slogns to acknowledge Pakistan team’s reaching the semi final in the Cup.
“It was a remarkable performance on part of the team and reaching the semi final was the result of hard work and collective team efforts”, appreciated Shahbaz Sharif.
He said victory and defeat are part of the game but these are major ways of“learning”. However,he advised the team members to continue their efforts byshowing a higher level of hard work and commitment to fetch glory for the country in future cricket events.
He said the team put up a fine performance to reach the semifinals for which it deserves praise, adding that he would invite the team on April 5 to a reception to award cash prizes.
Chairman, PCB said he was delighted that the Chief Minister received the players to recognize their achievement of reaching the semi finals. Team manager, Intikhab Alam also thanked the Chief Minister for receiving the team members.He said the team performed well in the Cup but unfortunately they could not come up to the expectations in the semi final against India. “I am satisfied with the overall showing of the team in the mega event “.
In their brief reaction regarding the semi final and the worldcup the team members had different views: Medium pacer Wahab Riaz termed his five wicket haul in semi final against India “a memorable feeling “ which will always inspire him to do better. He said the team showed good performance in the cup but sadly it could not win the semi final.
“I am delighted the way I performed in the semi final and I look forward to do more in coming series”,said Wahab.
Saeed Ajmal said the team needs improvement in fielding to lift the level of its performance.
On the other hand, pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar refused to talk to media.
Mohammad Hafeez said he was satisfied with his performance in the grand cricket event and he would perform better in future because participation in the cup added to his experience and confidence.”Unfortunately we failed to rise to the occasion in the semi final for which we apologize to the whole nation but every team member performed to his optimum best in the Cup. 
He said the team management fully backed and supported each member of the teamin every match.”We have another important series ahead the tour of West Indies and we will do our best to perform a better show”,he said.Razzaq regretted it wasunfortunate that the team could not give the gift of world cup to the nation by losing the semi final to India.

Pakistan team receives warm welcome at home

Their heartbreaking loss to India in the World Cup semifinal notwithstanding, Pakistan's cricket team was accorded a grand welcome on its return to the country with die-hard fans and top leaders greeting the players.
The welcome was similar at both Karachi and Lahore airports, where people gathered in small pockets carrying banners and garlands and shouting slogans.
The ministers were led by chief minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, at the Lahore airport.
"It is a historic moment in Pakistan cricket that the chief minister himself has taken the initiative to come and welcome our players," Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ijaz Butt said.
After being mobbed at the Karachi airport, Afridi was accompanied by legions of fans to his home, some 10 kilometres from the terminal.
"You have done us proud by reaching the semi-finals after beating bigger teams. Victory and defeat is part and parcel of the game and we accept it," Shahbaz told reporters at the airport.
"The people appreciate your hard work and hope you will continue to perform and improve in the same manner," he said while announcing a grand reception for the players on April 5 in Lahore.
The Punjab chief minister has already announced cash prizes of Rs5 lakh for each player and official for their performances.
The Pakistan squad reached Karachi from India via Dubai early this morning.
While Afridi, Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq left for their homes in Karachi, the rest of the players flew to Lahore.
The warm reception was a welcome aberration for the Pakistan players, who had been been subjected to ridicule and abuse by angry fans on many occasions in the past.
Butt said he was happy to see the response of the people.
"I am happy to see the welcome given to the players because they need our support and encouragement to perform better in future," Butt said.

[Video] Shahid Afridi Daughters on Misbah-ul-Haq

Shahid Afridi was very happy on overall team’s performance but see what his daughters have to say about Misbah.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...