Afridi facing tough task

2010-09-08 09:51
Shahid Afridi (AP)

Cardiff - Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi admitted he had a job on his hands to raise the morale of his scandal-hit side after they were bowled out for just 89 by England in a thumping Twenty20 loss.

Pakistan were dismissed for their lowest Twenty20 score in 40 matches at this level at Sophia Gardens on Tuesday as England won by six wickets to wrap up a 2-0 series win with a mammoth 36 balls to spare.

World Twenty20 champions England, who completed a 3-1 Test series win over Pakistan last month, will now look for fresh success when the teams meet in the first of five one-day internationals at Chester-le-Street, northeast England, on Friday.

"We were very bad, inexperienced and immature from my side and from all the batsmen," Afridi told reporters. "I think we played very bad cricket.

"It will be a big challenge to compete in the one-dayers, but we have some time," he added.

"Me, my coach (Waqar Younis) and the team, we will sit together and talk."

Pakistan's tour has been overshadowed by a 'spot-fixing' scandal that has seen Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif all suspended by the International Cricket Council after allegedly conspiring to deliberately bowl no-balls during last month's fourth Test at Lord's.

But Afridi said off-field problems could not account for Pakistan's form.

"We are coming through a bad situation, but as professionals we should take that from our mind and focus on our cricket.

"At this stage I know our morale is very down. It is down day by day, and game by game. But one victory and it will be very high.

"I just want one victory. I'm not letting my team down like this, not in the one-dayers," Afridi added.

But he conceded the loss of the suspended trio had hit Pakistan hard.

"I made some plans as a captain, I knew Salman Butt was my opener and key player, and Asif and Amir.

"Everything has changed as a captain for me, but inshallah (God willing) I will bring my team up."

Victory, built on seamer Tim Bresnan's man-of-the-match winning return of three wickets for 10 runs in 3.4 overs, saw England to a seventh straight Twenty20 success - equalling the record for consecutve international victories in this format shared by South Africa and Pakistan.

"In this form of the game it can be tough to win consecutively," said England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood.

"It just takes one performance from the opposition to take it away from you.

"To have that 'World Cup', you can have added pressure on you as well.

"But the way we've played over the last two games, the boys are enjoying that added pressure," added Collingwood, who led England to a five-wicket win over Pakistan here on Sunday.

"They tried to come hard at us today (Tuesday) -- you could sense that was their approach -- but we kept taking wickets and really applying the pressure."



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