‘We can’t go to the World Cup like this’

Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi, stand-in skipper for the third ODI against Australia, was dismayed by his side’s one-run loss in Abu Dhabi, and felt such performances would not stand at the World Cup.

Pakistan needed just two runs off the final over, chasing 232 to win, and had two wickets in hand. They failed to reach that though, losing both wickets, putting a cap on a collapse. The bowlers had done a sterling job earlier on, which was frustrating for Afridi.

Afridi raged: “In every aspect the conditions, including the pitch, suited Pakistan more than Australia. I think that if we can’t win on these pitches, our batsmen can’t make runs on them, then we have to think a lot about it.

“As for the World Cup, we can’t go there with performances like these.

“If you look overall, we have spoilt the good work of the bowlers. On this pitch it looked as if they will get 280-plus.

“We managed to keep them down to 231 but from the Twenty20 game to the third one-dayer, our problem has been a lack of partnerships. When we build a partnership our wickets start to fall.”

Afridi was skipper on the day in place of Misbah-ul-Haq, who had opted to sit out due to poor form. Afridi wanted clarity on the World Cup situation, despite four months still to go.

He said: “I think whoever is captain – Misbah or me – we should know about it. If I am to captain in the World Cup, then I should know about it.”