There is pressure on both sides: Hafeez
Colombo, Sep 30: As Pakistan prepare to take on India on Sunday, the Mohammad Hafeez-led team will be riding high on their win against South Africa. Meanwhile, India will be fighting to keep their chances in the tournament alive.
Speaking about the highly anticipated contest, Umar Gul, Pakistan’s hero in their thrilling victory over the Proteas said, “The conditions here suit us, and against India we will try to play well. Victory and defeat is not in our hands. We will try our 110 percent. No doubt India is a good batting unit, it is a good team. But if you see throughout the last World Cup, I bowled well. There is a lot of pressure against India because the expectations of the people of Pakistan are very high.”
“There is pressure, they always want us to win, and I know for a fact that it is the same in India also. So there will be pressure on both teams. But I have never allowed pressure to affect my performance. India and Pakistan have played each other for a long time, so we know each other very well. We know each other’s weak and strong points,” he added
The Pakistani captain seconded Gul’s point of view and said that there is pressure on both sides. He is however pleased with the way his team has responded to pressure so far. While speaking to the media Hafeez spoke about the expectations from the high-pressure match and his team.
On the match being termed as the final before the final
I don’t think this is a concept we players think of. This is another game for us and we will try to do our best. India obviously brings greater expectations, so there is pressure on both sides. But we’ve been playing each other and the pressure has gotten a little less. We’re not thinking of it as a final, it is a normal game of cricket in which we have to do our best.
On the pressure going into the game
We are not really taking pressure, especially in this tournament. The boys are showing great character, they are taking every game positively, the approach is great. We’re really happy that the boys are responding under pressure. Against India, all I can say as a captain is that everyone is looking forward to the game. We won the warm-up game, so that will give us confidence. Also, we have been playing good cricket throughout the tournament, so that will boost the confidence of the players.
On the game being touted as a battle between India’s batting and versatility of Pakistan’s bowling
I want to clarify that our strength is our whole team; we are not relying on one particular thing. Since we started this campaign, our batting and bowling have both been winning us matches. We have not been successful because of only one discipline. Both are our strengths and all guys are playing their roles. We’re playing positively and we’re quite hopeful that we can play better cricket in this tournament.
On fielding being an area of concern
We as a team are working really hard on that in practice sessions. We work extra hard in that area. In this tournament and in the last series against Australia we have shown good character in the field. It happens sometimes that you drop a few chances. But overall, we are happy with the effort of the boys, especially in this heat and difficult conditions.
On Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi
For us, both are match-winners, always have been. Both are experienced, and in our side their role has always been good. You don’t finish a career on the basis of one bad match. Afridi has always done well for Pakistan. His good or bad performances don’t matter to the team as much as his presence in the field does; that is the big thing.
Malik can bowl, but we will use him whenever we need, according to conditions and team’s requirements. We don’t ignore anyone in the side; we go with what is best for the team.