It was a challenge for me: Afridi

SHARJAH — The architect of Pakistan’s victory during the fourth one-day international against Sri Lanka, Shahid Afridi looked a happy soul on Sunday.

By Liaqat Ali

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Published: Wed 23 Nov 2011, 12:19 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:33 AM

He was the difference between two teams as he scored 75 crucial runs and then got 5-35 in his 9.2 overs.

Sri Lanka were all set to reach the target as they were cruising on 155 for 3 in the 38th over with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene batting confidently.

Afridi came on to bowl and clean bowled Sangakkara which triggered the collapse and helped Pakistan to clinch a 26-run victory and the series.

While addressing a Press conference Afridi said: “I am happy that I have figured in Pakistan’s victory. After the comeback it was a challenge for me and with help of Almighty Allah I was able perform well. I am satisfied with y performance and we want to improve as a team and bring more laurels for the country.

“We have won the series but the next game is more important for us and we will go for victory.”

Being a team person, Afridi is ready to listen to his captain Misbahul Haq. He keeps himself involved all the time he is on the field. He will go to any bowler after every delivery to encourage him.

Shahid added: “When I was batting I got the message form Misbah that 220-225 would be a very good total on this pitch because the ball was not coming on to the bat properly.

“I followed his advice and kept on scoring and tried my level best to put up a fighting total. We can’t ignore Saeed Ajmal’s performance. He was brilliant and the way he handled all the Sri Lankan bowlers including Lasith Malinga was unbelievable.”

Afridi known for his blunt talk looked more confident and said: “I had a point to prove and actions speak louder than words. There were many useless stories circling around for the last six months. Now it is time to perform on the ground and I want to be known as a cricketer only.

“There were a lot of challenges and there were a lot things that I had to prove wrong (about me). I am focusing on my game more carefully now. I know my team and fans expect a lot from me. I tried to play according to the situation today (Sunday). Since people were enjoying I kept on taking singles with the occasional boundary,” he said with a big smile.

When Afridi came to the crease Pakistan were in disarray at 71 for 5 in the 24th over. He watched wickets falling at the other end but he proved why he is rated as one of the most dangerous players in the world. He 75 off just 65 balls to help his team register 200, which Pakistan defended successfully.

Afridi’s comeback raised questions that his inclusion in the team may damage the harmony. But a popular character Afridi proved everything wrong by emerging a key player for Pakistan in the one-day series.

“When I was captain I got full support fro Misbah and now it time to pay back. The team is really doing well under his leadership and I want to play my part in Pakistan’s success. When Sri Lanka were going strong, Misbah told me that we needed just one wicket, and I was lucky that I got the dangerous Sangakkara out.”

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