Fear of failure has crept into our game
The morale in our dressing room is understandably a little low after our series defeat, because this was a huge series for us, writes Shahid Afridi.
The morale in our dressing room is understandably a little low after our series defeat, because this was a huge series for us and we have failed to perform to potential. As I said before, unity is a big factor in cricket, and we have just not been able to perform as a team. The fear of failure has been creeping into our game, and that has made us perform as individuals instead of as a unit. So our batsmen have played well in certain situations, but not consistently. And if you look at India, while Sachin has been fantastic at the top of the order, neeche se Dhoni aur Yuvi matches finish kar rahen hain.
Our bowling, too, has been faulty, because we've mostly tried to bowl too fast on wickets that don't require it. Had we studied what RP Singh and Irfan Pathan were doing, we would have realised that the need was to bowl wicket to wicket, in the channel. That way, you tend to bowl dot balls and maiden overs and pressurise the batsmen into making mistakes.
My own performance has been really disappointing, too, and the fact that I have been omitted from the Test squad comes as no surprise to me. Agar performance achhi nahi hai to team mein rehne ki kya zaroorat hai? I have failed to live up to expectations, and the last game at Gwalior was particularly disappointing.
In such situations, the role of the coach and captain is very important. They are the ones who have to boost the team and say ki chalo, it doesn't matter that we've lost the ODI series, let's make up for it in the Tests. I would say the captain's role is even more crucial, because he's the guy on the field and he has to motivate the team. A coach can't win you a game on the field, that is a captain's job. India ke paas to coach hain hi nahin, which merely proves my point.
Anyhow, we now have to go all out to win in Jaipur, because at least a 3-2 score line looks better than 4-1. And a win in the last one-dayer will give the team a lift before the Tests begin, so we can begin on a high. We have several talented young players, and perhaps our march to the final of the Twenty20 World Cup had raised people's expectations. But we will certainly try and live up to them in game five.