Afridi takes “sound advice” from Imran, Wasim for successful World Cup campaign

Saturday, February 12, 2011

KARACHI - Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi turned to his idols- Imran Khan and Wasim Akram- to seek advice for a successful World Cup campaign, and learnt from them that keeping his team united would be the key to bagging the coveted trophy.

“Yes I spoke to Imran Khan and Wasim Akram as I idolise them for their exploits for Pakistan cricket and both were very supportive and gave some sound advice,” The Nation quoted Afridi, as saying before boarding the flight to Bangladesh early this morning.

Imran reminded the flamboyant all-rounder that as captain, it was his prime responsibility to perform himself and keep the players happy.

Pakistan’s World Cup-winning captain also said that “unity would be the key to success in the tournament and if the players had self-belief and stuck together in the World Cup, they would achieve wonders,” Afridi said.

He said Imran told him that he had high hopes from the current squad as they appeared gelled and had plenty of talent and depth.

“Imran’s other advice was to be prepared for injury problems in the tournament and not to get discouraged,” said Afridi, adding that the former captain had also advised him to keep working with senior team players, and to keep on reminding them how important they were to the squad.

“Imran bhai also advised that we should be careful about the dew factor in the tournament as most of the matches are day and night fixtures and in March and April he pointed out that this was a major issue in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the evening,” he added.

Afridi said that Wasim, who led Pakistan to the final in the 1999 World Cup, had advised him to keep backing his players all the time.

Apparently, Wasim told the ODI captain that he should avoid criticising any of the players in public, as this would prove discouraging for them and would also spoil the dressing room atmosphere.

He told Afridi that even if he had any issues with their performance, he should speak to them privately and not publicly.

“Wasim’s contention was that this way the players, even if they were struggling for form, retained their confidence which was the key to winning the World Cup,” Afridi said.

He noted that Wasim had also expressed his confidence in the ability of the current Pakistan team to do well in the tournament.

“He also reminded me that in such a long event it was necessary to remain focused all the time and not to give up even if they were some bad results along the way,” Afridi added. (ANI)

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