I am proud of my team, Pakistan`s future is good: Afridi

Updated: Mar 31, 2011, 19:04 PM IST

Mohali: Pakistan`s future is bright and the team can take heart from their performance in the World Cup, according to captain Shahid Afridi who has called for resumption of cricketing ties with arch rivals India.

"I am proud of my team. Nobody expected much from us and to reach the semi-finals is a creditable achievement. There are a lot of youngsters who have shown promise and I think we will do well in future. I`m very happy as a captain," Afridi said at the post-match press conference after Pakistan`s
29-run defeat against India.

Afridi said India deserved to win the match as they played very well and no team could think of winning after dropping Sachin Tendulkar four times.

"I want to congratulate the Indian team and the whole nation. I think they deserved to win. We made too many fielding mistakes and our shot selection was poor. They also bowled very well and that put a lot of pressure on us. With
the run-rate climbing, it got increasingly difficult for us."

"You just can`t drop Tendulkar so many times and hope to win the match", he said.
Afridi also batted for resuming cricketing ties with India. "We want to play in India, we have shown them our hospitality in the past, I hope they do so too," he said.

Pakistan had a tumultuous build up to the World Cup where they had to battle `spot-fixing` scandals which led to bans for new-ball duo Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif as well as former Test captain Salman Butt.

Afridi said he was happy with his team which lifted themselves out of the troubled times and reached the semifinals of the World Cup.

"It has been a difficult 10 months for us. I am thankful to my board officials and team management for backing me. We had a rickety team coming into the World Cup and considering that it has been a good performance.

For Pakistan, Wahab Riaz shone with the ball returning with a five-wicket haul and Afridi credited the young pacer for bringing them in the match after India got off to a flying start.

"We didn`t bowl well with the new ball, but because of his bowling we came back, otherwise I thought they would have scored about 300. It was a great bowling performance from him," Afridi said.

"I think the youngsters really performed well. Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal played well and I hope they will do well in the future. I think we have played better than in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups," he added.

Asked whether he was apprehensive of his team getting a hostile reception when they went back home, Afridi said, "We reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, no one expected that. I think we have done well."

On Shoaib Akhtar not been given a farewell match, Afridi said "We tried to make him play this match, but he was slightly struggling. My intention was to give him a chance.

But you cant have players who are 50/60 per cent fit, you can’t take that chance," he said.

PTI