Poor fielding leaves Afridi breathing hot and cold | india | Hindustan Times
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Poor fielding leaves Afridi breathing hot and cold

On the eve of their tournament opener against Kenya last week, Shahid Afridi, the leader of the Green brigade, had labelled Pakistan as a “dangerous” side in the World Cup.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2011 01:17 IST
Amol Karhadkar

On the eve of their tournament opener against Kenya last week, Shahid Afridi, the leader of the Green brigade, had labelled Pakistan as a “dangerous” side in the World Cup.

Four days hence, after his men registered their first upset of the tournament by stunning Sri Lanka on Saturday, Afridi had no hesitation in saying that his team was among the “favourites”.

“It's a very big win for us, beating Sri Lanka before a capacity crowd, their own people and a strong team that has been playing very well recently,” Afridi, who led from the front, said. But Afridi conceded that a lot more improvement needed to done in fielding standards.

Had it not been for three dropped catches, two missed stumping and numerous missed run-out opportunities, Pakistan would have won by a much bigger margin.

In fact, had Chamara Silva --- who was given a 'life' by Abdur Rehman with what looked like the easiest of chances --- carried on his late charge for a couple of more overs, Pakistan could well have paid dearly despite dominating the game. While most cricket captains would downplay the lapses, Afridi had no qualms in issuing a stern warning to his team-mates.

“Our fielding has been improving since the New Zealand tour, but I don't know why in this match, we dropped catches and failed to take run-out chances,” Afridi said.

“When we go ahead in this tournament, our destination will get tougher and tougher and if we commit the same mistakes, we will return to Pakistan very soon. We must improve.”

If Pakistan respond positively to their skipper's warning, then by the time the knockout stage commences, the team could well emerge as the team to beat.