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Afridi - Malik should get tough

Pakistan all-rounder calls for skipper to lay down the law

Malik: too soft a leader?

Shahid Afridi has called for Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik to demand more from his players ahead of the the second Test against India at Eden Gardens.

Pakistan lost the first of three Tests by six wickets in Delhi and Afridi, who was left out of the Test squad after the one-day series loss, believes that Malik needs to be tougher if he is to get the best out of the team.

"If a player is not performing to his optimum level, the captain must be tough and demand more. I think our team was in a position to win the first Test," Afridi told PTI.

"Experience counts for a lot and [Anil] Kumble led their team well and intelligently. Malik can also do a similar job but he needs to be confident ahead of the second Test and must push the players to do better."

Afridi recalled the leadership of Inzamam-ul-Haq as an example, citing Pakistan's fightback in Bangalore during their last tour of India in 2005.

"In 2005, when we were down in the series, we only came back in the final Test in Bangalore because we believed we could do it and Inzamam [ul-Haq] kept telling us we were close to squaring the series," he said.

"But the batting must click big time like it did in Bangalore."


Afridi felt that the bowlers failed to support Shoaib Akhtar, who took all four wickets in the second innings, and that leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was particularly disappointing.

"The other bowlers need to give more support to Shoaib Akhtar. They must have tried hard but the results are important," Afridi continued.

"I was surprised that Kaneria didn't take more wickets on this pitch. I think he was not as effective because of his shortened run-up. He will get more bite into his bowling if he goes back to his old bowling action which allows him more flight and turn."

Afridi also felt that Pakistan were not too far off posting a challenging target in their second innings, and that failure to capitalise on Salman Butt's good start was key to the outcome.

"The batting didn't go all the way after a good start," Afridi said. "I have no doubt if we had got another 80 to 100 runs, we could have won this Test match.

"It was disappointing to lose out in the end. I am sure the rest of the team will be eager to make a comeback in the second Test in Kolkata."