Pakistan captain #Shahid-Afridi hopes talks to boost morale will inspire team to work on its weaknesses
Karachi: Pakistan captain #Shahid-Afridi is disappointed with his team’s performance in group matches of the World Twenty20 championship in the West Indies but says he “can’t beat my players with a stick” to make them do better in the coming games. The defending champions will, in all probability, take on England in the first of Super Eight stage games today.
The defending champions beat Bangladesh in their opening match of the tournament in St Lucia but succumbed tamely to Australia on the same venue in their second game.
Pakistan’s poor showing in its 34-run defeat against the Aussies has ignited strong criticism back at home and Afridi has conceded in an interview that it was a major cause for concern for the team management.
“We played poorly against Australia,” said Afridi. “But the thing is that I can’t just go out there and beat these boys with a stick and make them do better. I have talked to them and have tried to raise their morale and hopefully we will do well in our coming matches,” said the flamboyant all-rounder.
Pakistan arrived in the Caribbean fancying their chances of defending the title because of what appeared to be a potent bowling attack. But so far against both Bangladesh and Australia, their bowlers have failed to impress.
‘We’ve bowled really badly so far,” said Afridi. “I won’t put the blame on others because I myself have been bowling poorly. We will have to improve our bowling to have any chances of advancing beyond the Super-Eight stage of the tournament,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s injured star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is recovering slowly and will remain with the team for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, Sri Lanka Cricket said yesterday.
The Sri Lankan vice-captain has made “significant progress” and is recovering from a groin injury picked up during last Friday’s opening game against New Zealand, which Sri Lanka lost by two wickets.
Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday said the off-spinner had been “advised to rest for two or three weeks.” “Murali has begun his running programme paving the way for some light bowling shortly,” team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek said in a statement released by Sri Lanka Cricket in Colombo.
“The team support staff are keeping a close eye on Murali’s rate of improvement,” Simsek said.