Friday, February 11, 2011

Afridi bold about Pakistan hopes

In complete contrast to his Indian counterpart Pakistan captain Shaid Afridi was bold, brash and very quotable in a pre-conference ahead of the World Cup.
Afridi believes the recent off-pitch problems that have dogged Pakistan cricket means they are "the most dangerous team at the World Cup" and reckons they will at least make the semi-finals.

The message was in stark contrast to the one sent out by MS Dhoni, the Indian skipper. Dhoni's side, as hosts, will be under intense pressure to perform from the passionate if demanding home support and they will need to clock up some good live cricket scores. Therefore the 29-year-old played down his sides chances and gave the gathered journalists very little in terms of sensationalist headlines.

But headlines – and derogatory ones at that – have followed Pakistan around for years so Afridi perhaps saw this as a chance to redress the balance.
The main stories have, of course, centred round the spot-fixing scandal that saw Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt banned for between five and ten years following an ICC investigation.

Disastrous first-round exits in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups also mean the pressure will be on to avoid a repeat and livescores goalwire fans will be watching.

But a fresh looking squad with the likes of Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad and Wahab Riaz showing promise mixing nicely with some more experienced names, now could be the time for Pakistan cricket to write headlines for all the right reasons and give their tarnished cricketing image a much needed boost.

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