July 10, 2010

Shahid Afridi feels confidence level can help Pakistan immensely


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Encouraged by the success in both the Twenty20 Internationals the Pakistan captain Shahid Khan Afridi has a right to believe that his team can topple Australia in the upcoming two-Test series as well.

Pakistan and Australia will renew their Test rivalry at Lord's on July 13. The Aussies have had an outstanding record against Pakistan in the recent past but who will know it better than Shahid Afridi that history and reputation can be taken for a ride very quickly.

“I think now that we have regained our winning habit we must work harder to maintain it and make winning a habit. I knew sooner or later we will win back-to-back matches because we have been performing well since the Twenty20 World Cup but missed out in close matches," the Pakistan observed in an interview.

“Test cricket indeed different to the T20s. There is indeed a marked difference and we have to be aware of this but the good thing is that a win is a win in any form of the game and this series win should serve a confidence booster for us ahead of the Tests," he added.

"Obviously we will miss their experience. I wanted them in the team for this tour and I tried my best to see they were in the team but for different reasons this couldn't happen and it is unfortunate," he responded when asked about the absence of senior batsmen, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan.

Shahid Afridi, whose aggression in the field has been instrumental in lifting the spirits of his teammates, has backed his younger members of the side to grab the opportunity with both hands.

It remains to be seen if he manages to lift his boys in the Test matches like the way he did in the T20 matches. It’s a common belief that the shortest version of the game suits Pakistan both technically and temperamentally. Whether they would be able to improve in the Test arena is a big question mark despite the high confidence level.

The Pakistan coach, Waqar Younis, feels that his team can take a lot of confidence into the Test series.

"I think these two wins are really going to help us to get into the momentum. Test matches are a different ball game fair enough, but with victory behind you it always helps," he reckoned.

Nobody can dispute with Shahid Afridi and Waqar Younis about the confidence level being sky high but realistically Pakistan need to play much more consistently to overpower Australia in the two-Test series.

Pakistan’s bowling resources appear adequate which gives them a very good chance of bowling Australia out two times during a match but what about putting runs on the board. We have seen on numerous occasions that the Pakistani batsmen are vulnerable to balls moving in the air or off the pitch.

The youngsters, having little experience of coming to terms with high quality pace and swing bowling, would be tested and it will be a big bonus if they come good in the English conditions.


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