Karachi: Shahid Afridi has been advised to ‘just relax and enjoy his game’ by the newly-appointed Pakistan batting consultant Inzamam-ul Haq, who wants the flamboyant all-rounder to stop thinking about outside pressures concerning his current form.
“Inzibhai told me to stop thinking about any outside pressure and just relax and enjoy the game, especially my batting… When he first came to the camp, I thought he would be telling me about the technique and batting, but he didn’t say anything regarding that,” Afridi said.
Afridi has been picked only for the two T20s against India this month and has been left out of the three one-dayers. But the all-rounder has scored two half centuries in 50-over practice matches in Lahore, including a 91 off 64 balls on Wednesday.
“Inzibhai said there is nothing wrong with my batting and I only need to get my confidence back… And the best way to do it is to go and play my natural game. I have stopped thinking about what will happen next... I just want to go and do my best and enjoy my game. I have been under pressure for a while now and I want to get over it,” said the 34-year-old.
Afridi, who has played 349 one-dayers — the third most for a Pakistani — said that the coming tour to India will be decisive for his career. “It’s a very important series for both teams and, as a senior player, I want to contribute my bit to the team’s performance,” he said.
Interestingly, Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Misbah-ul Haq told reporters at the Gaddafi stadium that Afridi can be retained for the three ODIs in India if he strikes form in the two T20 International matches. “If he maintains his form and if we require him, we will definitely consider him for the ODIs as well,” Misbah said.
Misbah said Inzamam has helped the batsmen how to be mentally strong while playing against India. “Inzamam brings a wealth of experience with him and is basically telling the players how to deal with pressure and how to react in certain situations. He has been telling the players what to expect in India,” he said.
“Inzamam has been paying individual attention to the batsmen, including Afridi, and I think his presence is already helping them,” Misbah added.
Misbah also said he has told the players not to read too much into India’s recent Test series defeat against England. “We need to be careful and not underestimate them... They will be under pressure because of the Test series defeat, but they have the ability to bounce back in their own backyard in limited overs cricket,” he said. (PTI)