We will target Indian openers, says Shahid Afridi

first_imgPakistan captain Shahid Afridi on Monday said his statement that his team is aiming to make the Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar wait for his 100th international century, had been given a negative bend by the Indian media.”No one doubts the greatness of Tendulkar. But if someone asks me about him and the semi-final clash against India, obviously I will not say we will allow him to make runs,” said Afridi.”I will say we will try to stop him from scoring runs. There are instances where Sachin has scored a century and India has lost the match,” he added.Pakistan are all set to clash against India in the high-voltage semifinal in Mohali on Wednesday and it seems that the mind games are on.Earlier, Afridi had reportedly said, “He (Tendulkar) will have to wait until after the World Cup to reach the landmark. We will try and make sure no batsman plays a long innings (in the semi-final at Mohali).”Afridi further slammed the Indian media for spreading negativity surrounding his team and the high-profile match itself.”There is lot of negativity in the Indian media. We are not in India for any war but to play cricket. All this negativity is very disappointing,” Afridi told Geo news channel from Mohali.He said that the only way the Pakistan team could respond to the negative campaign in the Indian media was by performing well on the field.”We will try to give our 110 percent in this big match. But we will just do our best whatever the result. After the match we just want to be content in our hearts that we gave our best,” he said.advertisementSpeaking on his team’s strategy against India in the semifinal, Afridi said the basic strategy will be to target the Indian openers – Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar – and not give them room to play their shots.”We will finalise our strategy tomorrow but these are quality players and you can’t allow them room in such a big match.” .Expressing his apprehensions about the dew factor at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium, the captain said, “Yes there is plenty of dew here in the evening but they are using chemicals to fight it and hopefully it will not be that bad but in such circumstances the toss becomes important for both teams.”Responding to the growing clamour for the inclusion of retiring fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the crucial game, Afridi confirmed that the touring team management was seriously considering playing him on Wednesday.”Yes, we would like him to play but we first have to check his match fitness and form. We will watch him in the nets. We don’t want him to just bowl four or five overs but his full quota of overs,” said Afridi.Shoaib has been ignored for Pakistan’s last three matches in the tournament but Afridi said the management would watch the paceman in the nets on Tuesday and then take a decision on his inclusion.The 35-year-old speedster, who will retire after the World Cup, has not played since a reported bust up with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal after the match against New Zealand that Pakistan lost and for which Shoaib was fined USD 2000 by the management on disciplinary grounds.Afridi said he was disappointed by the remarks made by Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik about the government keeping a close watch on the players in the semifinal because of the spot-fixing scandal.”I don’t think he should have said such a thing at such a time.”Afridi said he and his players were just keeping themselves restricted to the hotel and ground because of the security issues.”We are spending a lot of time together in the hotel and gelling together and preparing for the big match because the pressure and expectations on us are very high.”But the good thing is the boys are relaxed and smiling and looking forward to the match,” said Afridi.– With PTI inputslast_img

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