IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Our team should be united – Afridi


Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, has asked his team-mates to be united on the field and off it as they left Karachi to take part in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. The tournament, involving Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be the first assignment for Afridi’s team ahead of a busy summer in England, where they will play Australia and England.

“What has happened cannot be changed,” said Afridi, referring to the turbulent last few months. “What we can do is ensure that past mistakes are not repeated. We cannot afford to be a bickering lot and the only way we can give our best is by staying united. What I want is that our team should be united on the field and off it.

“I know the importance of having frequent team meetings. It’s also important for all the players to dine together as much as possible and discuss issues openly because these are the things that help boost team spirit.”

The recent problems in the Pakistan team surfaced after their winless tour to Australia in 2009-10, following which, the PCB conducted an inquiry and punished several players. Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan were banned indefinitely, Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan for a year, while Afridi, Kamran and Umar Akmal were fined. No reasons for the penalties were forthcoming from the PCB at the time, but a leaked video later revealed the extent of discord within the team. However, all the players apart from Yousuf, who retired from international cricket, appealed against their punishments. The bans on Malik and Younis were overturned by an arbitrator; Afridi’s fine was removed while those of the Akmals were reduced. The selectors then included Malik, who had been slated for his attitude during the inquiry, in the squad for the Asia Cup, and recalled injury-prone fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

Afridi said Pakistan’s squad for the competition in Sri Lanka was balanced. “We have a very solid bowling attack and the batting is also looking good. There is a lot of potential. What we need is to translate that potential into positive results and that’s only possible if each and every player gives his best for the team.

“We have a long and challenging tour of England coming up but right now we are completely focusing on the Asia Cup, which is also an important assignment. A good showing in the Asia Cup would be a great start to our World Cup plans.”

Pakistan’s first game of the Asia Cup is against Sri Lanka in Dambulla on June 15.

Source:Cricket News

Image Source:Cricinfo

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 13th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.

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