Kolkata: The build-up for ICC World Twenty20 has been far from ideal for Pakistan but captain Shahid Afridi on Sunday said his men are in a positive frame of mind even though they need to be more disciplined in executing strategy.
Pakistan could win only two matches during last month’s Asia Cup, a debacle that came close on the heels of a limited-over away series loss to New Zealand.
Afridi admitted that Pakistan have been guilty of deviating from plans and this shortcoming will have to be overcome when the 2009 champions take on Bangladesh on Wednesday and India on Saturday in their opening two matches at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
“We are missing that (execution of plans). But I don’t think we should live in the past. If we play to the team plan, we would do well,” Afridi said in a news conference Sunday.
“The first game is always very important. It will set the rhythm. The pitch and conditions, luckily, will be helpful for us going into both very important matches,” he added.
Eden Gardens has been a happy hunting ground for Pakistan. They have an all-win (4-0) record against India in ODIs and Afridi said the statistic is enough to keep them in a positive frame of mind.
“We have very good memories here. We will be playing two matches here so we’re confident (of doing well). If you look at our overall performances here, that does give us a lot of positivity. The body language will be good so it’s a plus point,” he added.
On India having never lost to their arch-rivals in an ICC tournament, the Pakistani skipper was all smiles.
“That brings negativity... We would like to keep it away.”
On a serious note he said, “India are playing very good cricket. But even can give them a tough time.”
Afridi said he would not hesitate to promote himself up the order if the need arises.
“As a captain I have given a lot of chance to youngsters. But in a big event like this, it is the senior players who have to take the pressure -- be it myself, Shoaib Malik or Mohammed Hafeez. I will look to contribute up the order with the batting.”
India’s opener Rohit Sharma had recently expressed surprise about media’s hype over Mohammad Amir after getting dismissed by the returning pacer at the recently concluded Asia Cup. Facing a query on Sharma’s assessment of Amir, Afridi said the left-arm quickie is among the world’s best.
“I don’t know what he (Sharma) has said, for me Amir is the best. The way he is going, he is among the top International bowlers.
“We have a great fast bowling line-up. If our batsmen put enough scores on board, I don’t think it will be difficult. We have two youngsters in the spin department, so it’s good. It’s been Pakistan bowling versus Indian batting for the last 60 years. PTI