Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi on Sunday said the team is fully prepared for the World Cup T20 in India.
“The team is mentally ready to play in India and its practice is going on well,” the captain said while addressing the media in Kolkata.
Boom boom termed every match of the World Twenty 20 cricket tournament important and said his team wants to begin their campaign with a triumph. “All matches in the World T20 are important for us. Team India are playing very good cricket and if you look at the last match we played against India in Asia Cup they did really well specially Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. But we also gave them a tough time,” Afridi said.
The 36-year-old all-rounder said he rarely enjoys playing cricket in any other part of the world as much as he enjoys playing it in India. “There are very few nations where I’ve enjoyed cricket as much as I’ve enjoyed cricket in India.”
Further, responding to a question whether it will be Pakistan’s bowling versus India’s batting Afridi replied with a wide smile on his face that: “The same has been happening for sixty years.”
Regarding the recent criticism on his team’s dismal performance in the Asia Cup, the Pakistani captain said: “When you have played for 20 years you obviously face ups and downs but the real player is the one who faces the criticism and takes it positively. There has been a lot of criticism against me and I have taken it positively and gave a response only through my performance.”
Need to improve our skills in batting: Shoaib Malik
Meanwhile, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik said his team needs to improve skills in batting and techniques, hoping that it will help them get “back on track”.
The former Pakistan captain thanked the Indian government for providing ample security for the Pakistani team in wake of security threats. “I am very happy to be in India, I always get a lot of love. I am honoured to be in India.”
Malik further said the World T20 was a great opportunity for his team “to perform well and bring Pakistan where the rest of the world is.”
The Pakistan cricket team arrived in Kolkata, the capital of India’s West Bengal state, on Saturday evening amid tight security to take part in the World Twenty20 cricket tournament.
Before arriving in the Indian city, the 27-member Pakistani squad reached Abu Dhabi from Lahore and rested for some time before boarding a flight for Kolkata.
The contingent, comprising 15 players, 12 officials and support staff, reached the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at 7:55 pm amid tight security only a day after the cricket board received a green signal from the government to travel to India.
Their first match of the main tournament will be held at Eden Gardens on March 16 against a qualifier team, followed by the marquee clash against arch-rival India at the same venue on March 19. They will then take on New Zealand (March 22) and Australia (March 25) in their remaining Group B matches — both in Mohali.
The Pakistan team was to fly out on Wednesday but the government put their departure on hold, citing security concerns. On Thursday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ruled out sending the team until special security assurances were met from India.
The matter was solved following security assurances from the Indian government.