Malik’s call: But he, not I, should open | india | Hindustan Times
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Malik’s call: But he, not I, should open

Our best chance of winning lies in playing our natural game, and giving 100 per cent to both batting and bowling, writes Shahid Afridi.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 01:27 IST

With the kind of momentum we had gained at Mohali, we should definitely have won the Kanpur game, and that hurts.

And it hasn’t helped that the media have blown up my on-field exchanges with Gautam Gambhir out of all proportion. It is easy to mislead people by repeatedly playing up an incident that is, in fact, quite commonplace. Media ko bas story chahiye, chahe who kitni bhi fizool kyon na ho (The media only needs a story, no matter how silly it is). And so, despite the fact that Gambhir and I have settled the issue, I expect to be reminded of it again and again.

Coming back to more important matters, we are one game away from losing this series, and all of us are focussed on winning at Gwalior.

I think our best chance of winning lies in playing our natural game, and giving 100 per cent to both batting and bowling. We tried something different in Kanpur when I opened the batting, but I thought that was not necessary.

Granted, I scored a century in the last game that we played there, but one can’t repeat that kind of feat every time. Batting lower down the order, against the old ball, it is easy to keep up a run rate of eight or nine runs per over.

I feel Shoaib Malik is better suited to open, though as captain, he has the ultimate right to decide the batting order. He has also come under fire for choosing to field after winning the toss, but I maintain that reading the pitch is an art that not everyone can master.

All of us are under pressure to square the series, and I feel the burden of expectations because people expect me to score quickly in every game, and when that does not happen, the sense of disappointment is very obvious.

There is also a lot of pressure on our fielding, though this is not an area in which a team can improve overnight.

Our dropped catches in the third one-dayer at Kanpur largely undid the impact of Salman Butt’s magnificent century, and with Kamran Akmal going through a bad patch, our problems have grown.

You can’t be a good fielding side unless you enjoy yourself on the field, and if your attitude is one of 50 overs jaldi guzar jayein (pass off quickly), then your performance will suffer.

Anyhow, we are determined to put up an all round show at Gwalior, and if we can perform to potential, there’s no reason we can’t level the series.