Afridi takes advice from Wasim, Imran before heading to WC

Karachi, Feb 11 (PTI) Pakistan captain Shahid Afriditurned to the iconic duo of Wasim Akram and Imran Khan to seekadvice for a successful World Cup campaign and both the formercaptains advised him that keeping the side united would be thekey to winning the trophy.

"Yes I spoke to Imran Khan and Wasim Akram as I idolisethem for their exploits for Pakistan cricket and both werevery supportive and gave some sound advice," Afridi saidbefore boarding the flight to Bangladesh early this morning.

Imran reminded the flamboyant all-rounder that as captainit was his prime responsibility to perform himself and keepthe players happy.

"Imran said unity would be the key to success in thetournament and if the players had self-belief and stucktogether in the World Cup, they would achieve wonders," Afridisaid.

He said the former captain, who led Pakistan to the 1992World Cup title, told him that he had high hopes from thecurrent squad as they appeared gelled and had plenty of talentand depth.

"Imran''s other advice was to be prepared for injuryproblems in the tournament and not to get discouraged. He saidPakistan had proved everyone wrong by winning the 92''tournament," Afridi said.

Afridi said former captain had also advised him to keepworking with the senior players and to keep on reminding themhow important they were to the team.

"Imran bhai also advised that we should be careful aboutthe dew factor in the tournament as most of the matches areday and night fixtures and in March and April he pointed outthat this was a major issue in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladeshin the evening," he said.

Afridi said Wasim, who led Pakistan to the final in the1999 World Cup, had advised him to keep backing his playersall the time.

Apparently, Wasim told Afridi that he should avoidcriticising any of the players in public as this provesdiscouraging for them and spoilt the dressing room atmosphere.

The former captain told Afridi that even if he had anyissues with their performance, he should speak to himprivately and not publicly.

"Wasim''s contention was this way the players even if theywere struggling for form retained their confidence which wasthe key to winning the World Cup."

Afridi said Wasim had also expressed confidence in theability of the current team to do well in the tournament.

"He also reminded me that in such a long event it wasnecessary to remain focused all the time and not to give upeven if they were some bad results along the way." PTI Cor PM

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