Dhaka, March 22 (IANS) Having led his side’s bowling attack from the front in the World Cup group games, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi Tuesday said he would now focus on his batting in the knockout stage beginning with the quarterfinal against the West Indies here Wednesday.
“I am not batting well at present. But I’ll be more focused henceforth. And considering it is the knockout stage, it is better if I remain focused with my batting,” Afridi said at the match eve media meet.
With 17 scalps under his belt, Afridi is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. But the generally flamboyant batsman has failed with the willow, scoring an uninspiring 65 in six games. Afridi, however, seemed on cloud nine about the performance of the bowlers.
“The way we are bowling is amazing. Umar (13 wickets), (Abdur) Razzaq, even Wahab (Riyaz) are all bowling well at the moment. Umar (Gul) was struggling with his ankle for some time. But now he is doing a great job with the new ball,” he said.
About his success with the ball, Afridi said he was trying to bowl wicket-to-wicket and trying to utilise the spin-friendly conditions at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.
“As a captain, I try to perform to my best and set an example for the rest of the team,” he said.
Pakistan have been on a song in the tournament, and cruised into the quarterfinals by topping Group A, with five wins from six games. They handed the world’s top side Australia their first defeat after 34 World Cup games and also got past Sri Lanka.
“We have worked hard for this World Cup. In my 14-year long career we have never worked this hard before… Expectations are more now, especially after the win against Australia. So is our confidence. It is a good sign.”
Afridi said his team was hopeful of winning the quarterfinal match against the West Indies, but would not underestimate the Caribbeans, which had several promising players.
“We know the conditions well, having played one warm-up game. My team is capable of playing in the semifinal. Hopefully, we will win tomorrow.
“But every team is well prepared for this World Cup. You cannot underestimate any team, especially at this stage of the tournament. West Indies are a good unit, with some promising players in their ranks,” he said.
He indicated that pacer Shoaib Akhtar would not be part of he playing XI on the morrow. “I am very happy with my winning combination. In any case, you can’t change a team combination much at this stage of the tournament,” said Afridi.