Malik should get tough with players: Afridi
KARACHI: All-rounder Shahid Afridi wants captain Shoaib Malik to get more tough and demanding with the players for Pakistan to make a comeback in the current Test series against India.
Afridi, who was omitted from the squad for the three-match series after Pakistan lost the One-day rubber 2-3, on Tuesday said he believed Malik should be more proactive.
“If a player(s) is not performing to his optimum level, the captain must be tough and demand more. I think our team was in a position to win the first Test,” Afridi said in an interview.
The hard-hitting batsman felt Pakistan could have sealed the match on the third day when they were nosing ahead of India in their second innings.
“The batting didn’t go all the way after a good start. I have no doubt if we had got another 80 to 100 runs, we could have won this Test match,” he said.
Afridi said there was nothing wrong with the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground and with a little application, batsmen could have scored more runs.
“We were in a position to win the match which was very close. It was disappointing to lose out in the end. I am sure the rest of the team will be eager to make a comeback in the second Test in Kolkata. But the other bowlers also need to give more support to Shoaib Akhtar,” he said.
Pakistan lost the low-scoring first Test by six wickets on Monday with Akhtar the standout bowler with six wickets, including four in the second innings.
Afridi lamented that other bowlers could not take more wickets.
“They must have tried hard but the results are important. I was surprised that leg-spinner Danish Kaneria didn’t take more wickets on this pitch.”
Kaneria failed to take a wicket in India’s fourth innings run chase.
“I think Danish was not as effective because of his shortened run-up. He will get more bite into his bowling if he goes back to his old bowling action which allows him more flight and turn,” he said.
Afridi, himself a leg-spinner, felt that Kaneria remained a key bowler for Pakistan and, along with Akhtar and Umar Gul, could still win the series for Pakistan.
“It is just a matter of getting back the confidence. In 2005 when we were down in the series, we only came back in the final Test in Bangalore because we believed we could do it and Inzamam (former captain) kept telling us we were close to squaring the series. But the batting must click big time like it did in Bangalore,” he noted.
“The players must have self-belief. The One-day series was very close despite our loss. I feel the Test series will also be close.”
Afridi praised the captaincy of Anil Kumble and said his experience as bowler and captain was vital.
“Experience counts for a lot and Kumble led their team well and intelligently. Malik can also do a similar job but he needs to be confident ahead of the second Test and must push the players to do better,” he added.