Our focus is on WI game and not the semi-finals, says Afridi
Dhaka: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is not looking too far ahead about a possible clash with India in the semifinals of the World Cup, saying the team`s immediate focus was on beating the West Indies in the quarterfinal here on Wednesday.
After finishing on top of Group A and ending Australia`s unbeaten run in World Cup matches, the champions of the 1992 edition will battle it out against West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium and a win over Darren Sammy`s men could set-up a high-voltage semi-final showdown against arch-rivals India if the `Men In Blue` beat Australia in other quarterfinal in Ahmedabad, on Thursday.
"I am not even thinking of the next match, whether it is India or Australia. Our entire focus is on winning the quarter-final against the West Indies," Afridi told reporters here at the pre-match media conference.
Afridi was aware of the fact that a defeat means catching a return flight back home and said Pakistan have resolved to carry on the momentum and avoid any sort of complacency.
"We will not take the West Indies lightly. Any team is capable of winning on their day, there are no second chances in a knock-out match. I think they are a very good side," he said.
Pakistan had a tumultuous build up to the World Cup with the team battling spot-fixing allegations but Shahid Afridi and his men have not allowed themselves to be distracted by the scandal as they topped group-A with five wins in six outings.
Afridi`s boys went into the tournament with a depleted side in the absence of former captain Salman Butt and pace spearheads Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif due to the spot-fixing controversy but the team overcame all hurdles under his inspirational leadership.
Afridi may have failed with the bat so far with just 65 runs in six games, but the skipper, has been very effective with his leg-breaks and currently is the leading bowler in the tournament with 17 wickets.
Swing bowler Umar Gul also has been among wickets taking 13 scalps.
"Our success so far has been entirely due to the bowlers, who have done a very good job. I myself have not batted well and will focus on that aspect tomorrow. I know how important my batting is for the team and I will try to get some runs on the board," said Afridi.
On the batting front, former captain Younis Khan has been the vital cog while Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal also chipped in nicely, scoring 192 and 211 runs at an average of 48 and 52.75 respectively.
Youngster Asad Shafiq also has shone in the two games he played in the World Cup averaging 124.
This is the same venue where the West Indies bundled out Bangladesh for their lowest one-day total of 58 in the league match and romped home by nine wickets but Afridi was unperturbed by the fact.
"That was Bangladesh, this is Pakistan. It`s not that we are playing for the first time in these conditions. We feel at home anywhere in the sub-continent," the skipper said.
Afridi pointed out that he had never seen Pakistan train and focus on every game so seriously before.
"I have played for 14 years and never seen the team train so seriously and focus on their game. The entire team is together in the dream to do well in the World Cup.”
"Our aim at the start was to make the semi-finals and I am confident we can achieve that. The expectations back home are high and we are determined not to let our supporters down," he said.