Stay calm, we will regain our respect: Afridi to countrymen
London: Pakistan`s ODI and Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi has asked his countrymen to stay calm in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal, insisting that his team would regain its lost respect in world cricket.
"My message to the people of Pakistan is to calm down and wait to see how the investigations turn out. I still believe the players are not guilty - but we will have to wait and see the outcome," Afridi was quoted as saying.
"It has been difficult for the players to maintain their focus but there were signs of improvement in Durham," he said after Pakistan lost their first ODI against England by 24 runs.
Afridi said he is confident that his team would be able to regain the lost respect in world cricket.
"We all want to go home with respect. We want to play some good cricket and get some victories. Yesterday (Friday) the performance was much better, not 100 percent but I was quite happy with the efforts from the boys. That`s what I`m expecting in the next game as well," said Afridi.
"We are good cricketers and want to maintain our respect and that is gained by playing good cricket. After a victory the respect will come again. I`m still very confident that my team can win against any team in the world," he added.
The all-rounder said it was difficult to play in the wake of spot-fixing allegations which led to the suspension of Test skipper Salman Butt and pacer Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir.
"We all know we are playing in a very tough situation but we are trying to forget everything that is going on. It`s not easy, but everyone is looking to us and we need to keep our image," he said.
Afridi also said there are many fresh faces in the one-day squad, which would help prevent physical fatigue.
"Asif and Aamir bowled a lot of overs in the Tests but aren`t with us and we have some fresh bowlers. Mohammad Irfan, Abdul Razzaq and Umar Gul are feeling good and full of energy," he said.
The Scotland Yard and ICC Anti-Corruption Unit are investigating the three players in the cash-for-no-ball saga.
Pacer Wahab Riaz is also under investigation and would be questioned by the police. The fast bowler missed the first ODI but Afridi insisted his omission was purely tactical.
"At the moment he is feeling fine. Let`s see what happens when the police investigate him. I really don`t know what is going on. I just heard the police want him. But he`s feeling okay," Afridi said.