“If his form remains like this and we need him, we will absolutely consider him,” Misbah said at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. “The form of senior players, who are experienced enough, is very important. They are seniors; whenever you give performances like this it will be good for Pakistan.”
Afridi had a poor World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, where he scored 30 runs in six matches at an average of six and claimed four wickets at 42.74. In his last 12 international innings across all formats, he averages 6.30 with the bat. He failed to make an impact in the recently concluded national Twenty20 competition and looked out of form.
However, during the one-day practice matches, he scored 52 off 40 balls on Monday and clubbed another impressive 92 off 64 balls on Wednesday. He looked calm and controlled with the bat, cutting, sweeping and executing with a straight bat rather than slogging wildly. A lofty six over the bowler’s head into the dressing room was perhaps the biggest hit in the last three days. But if he is to cement his place in the side as an all-rounder his bowling needs to improve. At the moment, though, his power hitting is a positive for Pakistan.
Misbah said Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s batting consultant, has given the batsmen tips on how to tackle pressure while playing against India. “Inzamam has been very useful in helping us prepare both psychologically and mentally – what type of hurdles we are going to face, how to get out of it, how as a batsman you should carry yourself,” Misbah said. “No doubt in India-Pakistan cricket you have to play hard line cricket and we will try to apply it over there.”
Misbah was cautious of India despite their beat in the Test series against England at home. “There is no point underestimating them. We will have to play hard cricket. Every bowler has a role to play. Against India you need a balanced attack,” Misbah said, stopping short of naming Saeed Ajmal as their key bowler. “You can’t depend on any one; otherwise you will be under a lot of pressure. India has depth in their batting line-up and you can’t seize them with any one bowler.”