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'Boom Boom' Afridi bashes critics

03 December, 2013

KARACHI: Pakistan's poor performance against South Africa in the UAE drew flak from most of the experts of the game, and now it seems that the national team players are all set to even things out.

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The players returned home in groups on Monday after a successful tour of South Africa, where they levelled the Twenty20 series 1-1 before claiming their first ODI series [2-1] win against the Proteas.

Before this tour, Pakistan were beaten by the same opponents in both the ODI series [4-1] and T20 series [2-0] in the UAE.

Former cricketers featuring in various television shows and interviews questioned team tactics, motivation and application of the players, especially the senior players.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi, who endured a lean run with the bat in both UAE and South Africa, minced no words in slamming the critics while speaking to media in Karachi.

"I know there were Heckle and Jeckle and Mr Bean sitting in the media," said the all-rounder.

"They were posing as if the team never lost in their time. I think it's not the team of just 16 players, it's also their team. They should back players in tough times instead of demoralising them."

The former captain also rejected talks of grouping in the team.

"Why do people speak of grouping only when the team loses? The media should also play a positive role. Why do es media invite people who were engaged in indiscipline and groupings throughout their career?"

He praised the role of team manager Moin Khan and bowling coach Mohammad Akram, saying the duo helped lift the team's morale in difficult times.

Meanwhile, Afridi said he was concerned about his batting, which he felt was vital for the team. He also termed the entry of Sohaib Maqsood, Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali to international cricket as a positive.

Misbah concurs with Afridi

Meanwhile, ODI and Test captain Misbahul Haq was not as upfront in his statements, yet asked the critics to back the team in tough times.

"People were calling for a complete overhaul after we lost in the UAE," he said. "But the same team defeated South Africa at their home, which we had never done before.

"Anything can happen in cricket, and it's not fair to hit teams on the basis of one or two performances."

The unprecedented series win in South Africa was termed a much-needed one by Misbah, who wants the team to gain consistency.

"But we lack consistency in batting and a lot of work needs to be done. A batting coach can be useful for bringing improvement."