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‘Irfan makes a difference’

Calcutta: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq, on Thursday, echoed the view of the majority as he said that India would miss Sachin Tendulkar, who has retired from the limited overs format, for quite some time.

India take on Pakistan at the Eden, on Thursday and Misbah was asked, during a media conference, if Sachin’s absence has made things easier for his side.

He said: “When a legendary player like Sachin retires, it makes a big impact on the side. India will miss him for quite some time… Because it would take time for another player to achieve the experience and class that he had.”

In a somewhat similar tone, Misbah also said that Shahid Afridi’s absence in the ODI team would be difficult to fill. Afridi was in Pakistan’s T20 team which played against India, but was not chosen for the one-day format.

“There’s no doubt that he has been a key player in the team for a long time. Even we miss him and it’s difficult to fill in the void, especially the difference he would do with his bowling, giving vital breakthroughs. Even we want him to be back in the team. And, till he comes back, we have to manage with the youngsters. Every player goes through a rough patch... But he’s not out forever. He can come back anytime. He has a lot of cricket left in him,” Misbah said on Afridi.

Pakistan enjoy an all-win record in ODIs at the Eden and Misbah said that such a record acts as a confidence-booster. “We have some good memories of the Eden, as a team and also as players. Confidence plays a big role in cricket… If you’ve a good record, it gives more confidence,” Misbah said.

He also highlighted the importance of the series as he said: “An India-Pakistan series is always an important. We will put together all our energies to play good cricket. Each game is a new game you have to put in your best.”

He was all-praise for the promising fast bowlers — Junaid Khan and Mohammed Irfan. “They are very talented. If they can carry on like this, they would be fine prospects and will give us results in future.”