Afridi: People angry with us also love us

"People who get angry with us also love us. In the subcontinent, cricket is big. We have to take those things positively and perform, because they love us a lot and we should not mind if they say something," Afridi said ahead of Pakistan's World Twenty20 match against New Zealand.

Shahid Afridi: "Miracles always don’t work in cricket. We have to stop repeating small mistakes and play good cricket."   -  Akhilesh Kumar

>Shahid Afridi has played enough cricket for Pakistan to know when to expect bouquets and brickbats. Even as the Pakistan team is haunted by the ghost of its loss to India in Kolkata the other night, Afridi said he had shut himself from outside distractions to focus on the World Twenty20 matches.

“People who get angry with us also love us. In the subcontinent, cricket is big. We have to take those things positively and perform, because they love us a lot and we should not mind if they say something.

“Even before the tournament started, people had written us off. But I have stayed away from Twitter and Facebook. I have just kept myself on one side because I know how people are reacting back home. [Regardless of] whatever happens, there is a thing for the future, but right now, all we can do is perform well,” said Afridi, the Pakistan captain, on the eve of his team's crunch match against New Zealand at the PCA Stadium here.

Tongue in cheek

“Sometimes in Pakistan games, they make the pitch in a different way,” said a tongue-in-cheek Afridi referring to the match against India, even while underlining the importance of moving on from that defeat.

“If you create a panic situation in the team, then it is difficult to sort out things. Miracles always don’t work in cricket. We have to stop repeating small mistakes and play good cricket. New Zealand has been playing good cricket but conditions are different here. We have the hunger to win the next match.”

The New Zealand way

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson put things in perspective about his side's good run. “We picked a squad to suit all conditions. Perhaps in the past, we have tried to play the New Zealand way in the subcontinent. But in this tournament, even though we have played just two games, we have adapted a lot better.”

Hesson, who likened the conditions here to that of New Zealand, warned his team of an 'unpredictable' and 'skillful' Pakistan. “Their bowling attack is very challenging. We are fortunate to have played them recently. As a batting unit, they are relatively predictable, and that gives us more opportunity with the ball,” said Hesson.