LAHORE - The semifinal loss to India in the World Cup continues to rankle Pakistan's ODI captain Shahid Afridi who said it was a mistake to position himself in the lower-half of the batting order in the high-voltage game.
"I am not a born captain and I also make mistakes. I made mistakes in the World Cup particularly in the semi-final at Mohali. I should have gone up the order like Mahendra Singh Dhoni did against Sri Lanka in the final at Mumbai," Afridi said on a TV programme.
The flamboyant all-rounder said with Abdul Razzaq also available down the order, he should have taken a chance and promoted himself in the semi-final against India. "The move by Dhoni in the final to come up the order worked and it could also have worked for us but we all make mistakes and it was my mistake," he said. He pointed out that India had one of the strongest and best batting line-ups in the world and when Pakistan bowled them out for 260, there was total silence at the innings break in the stadium.
"Once we held them down to 260, I knew we had a strong chance of winning the match. Unfortunately, we didn't bat well and the moment Umar Akmal got out, I had a bad feeling it was not going our way," he said. "I am learning every day as captain because it is a big learning process." Afridi refused to comment on Indo-Pak relations but was reiterated that there were some elements in the Indian media who were negative about ties. "About that I am convinced there are negative elements. And if both countries want to move forward this mindset has to change.
"I am not against India or Indian people or Hindus. They are Hindus living in Pakistan just like Muslims in India and since this is a very sensitive issue I have decided that from now on I will not speak on it," Afridi said.
Afridi also said he never expected to end up as the joint highest wicket-taker in the World Cup. "I didn't go into the tournament thinking I will take 21 wickets. It is a big honor for me and I am happy that I contributed to the team's cause," he said.
Afridi and Zaheer Khan finished with 21 wickets apiece in the World Cup. Afridi insisted he had no immediate plans to retire from international cricket. "While the 2015 World Cup is still a long way away I am presently looking at the Twenty20 World Cup that will be held next year. I will continue to play and captain the side as long as I am performing and as long as the board and people can tolerate and accept me," he added. He said while he was in favour of rebuilding the team after the World Cup but, radical changes should be avoided. "First of all this assumption that seniors have been dropped for the West Indies tour is not correct. They have been rested as the selectors and management want to try out some new players.
I am for change but not in a haphazard manner and we can't just dump our senior players who have given so much to Pakistan cricket," he added. The Pakistan captain also insisted that he was grateful to some former players and seniors such as Younus Khan, Kamran Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq who had supported him. "The main target I and Vicky bhai (Waqar Younis) had was to ensure a clean and good dressing room atmosphere in the World Cup and to get the team to gel together and I think we succeeded in doing that," he said.