Afridi tells Pakistan to get into winning habit
COLOMBO: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has ordered his unpredictable team to wave farewell to their era of frustration and welcome in a new golden age of winning consistency.
Pakistan, whose World Cup build-up was characteristically chaotic, went to the top of Group A after a 205-run victory over Kenya and an 11-run win against Sri Lanka.
Another two points against Canada on Thursday will go a long way to ensuring their quarter-final place, but Afridi has demanded more consistency from a team that many are backing to lift the trophy on April 2.
\"We must show consistency because we are not known for that,\" said Afridi, after practice on Tuesday.
\"We need to keep the momentum going in the Canada match because we still have a long way to go in the tournament.\"
Afridi has led from the front taking nine wickets — the highest in the World Cup so far; Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson is second with eight.
Afridi said the team was in high spirits after beating Sri Lanka.
\"We had a very good win against Sri Lanka, so we want to keep the momentum going. We should not be negative about anything and must make winning a habit.
\"We have to take every match seriously, more so against a team who we don\'t know,\" said Afridi, about Canada whom Pakistan have played just once in the World Cup.
That resulted in an eight-wicket win at Leeds in 1979.
\"We have tried to gather some video footage of their initial matches but we are not bothered about that. After this match, we have New Zealand so we must win this one and then think about future games,\" said Afridi.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman will sit out the Canada match after suffering a muscle injury against Sri Lanka and is likely to be replaced by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
In-form batsman Misbahul Haq, who scored 65 and an unbeaten 83 in the first two matches, is likely to be rested after suffering a minor hamstring problem. Asad Shafiq is expected to fill his place.
Canada captain Ashish Bagai said he was deeply unhappy with his team\'s performances in the first two matches.
\"Definitely we are very very disappointed,\" said Bagai, after a 210-run loss against Sri Lanka and a 175-run mauling against Zimbabwe.
\"We had planned very well for the game against Zimbabwe but we were not up to it.\"
Bagai said his team needs to address shortcomings.
\"We need to comeback. Somehow it\'s us as a batting unit that\'s failing, that\'s the most disappointing part. It\'s our own mistakes which are going on again and again so we have no choice other than to figure out what\'s going on.
\"It may be a lack of belief at the top order, that\'s something for us to get sorted out very quickly otherwise we will be in trouble against Pakistan,\" said Bagai.
Canada were bowled out for 122 and 123 in their two matches, with experienced opener John Davison failing to score in both.