Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pakistan battle distractions before World Cup

Shahid Afridi has said that the victory in the one-day series over New Zealand has filled Pakistan with confidence, especially since the win was not due to individual genius but through teamwork. The 3-2 triumph was Pakistan's first series success since 2008.
"What has given us the confidence to do well in the World Cup is that nearly every player contributed towards our series win in New Zealand," Afridi told reporters at Karachi airport on Monday. "You can never expect to win depending on just one or two players. Every player has to contribute in some way."
Pakistan will be without the three players who were banned on charges of spot-fixing - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - but Afridi said that the team was focused on the cricket, and not off-field events. "The team has become mentally tougher and is hungry for success."
All three players received lengthy bans earlier this month, and Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said it was time to move on from the controversy. He also said the hearings in Doha hadn't distracted his players during the New Zealand series. "It is important that it's finished now and we can start afresh," said Waqar, who had been coach during the England series last year when the spot-fixing scandal erupted. "A lot of controversies affected Pakistan cricket, I am happy that it's over now.
"I am sure this one-day series win will give us a good build-up for the World Cup," he said. "We have good momentum, having played South Africa recently and now this hard-fought win in New Zealand gives us good momentum for the World Cup."
Pakistan have warm-up matches against Bangladesh in Mirpur on February 15th and against England in Fatullah to finetune their World Cup strategies

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