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Afridi should 'smell opposition's blood and go for the kill' in WC semi-final: Sohail

March 29, 2011 - Islamabad

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar can be a match-winner in the World Cup semi-final clash against India on Wednesday, and captain Shahid Afridi should "smell the blood of the opposition and go for the kill" to seal a slot for his team in the final, former captain and cricket pundit Aamer Sohail has said.

"I'd like to see Shoaib Akhtar play in the semi final. He can be a match-winner. My theory is that if your batting is weak, you don't go and try to strengthen it, instead you do the opposite and make your bowling even stronger so that you can get the opposition out more cheaply and make it easier for your own batsmen," quoted Sohail, as saying.

"We all know Shoaib is not 100% fit, he's been taken to the World Cup, it was a gamble, but now is the time to use Shoaib and utilise him to get rid of the Indian top order with the new ball. By getting rid of the Indian top order, Pakistan have a great chance of winning the semi final," he added.

The former Pakistan skipper advised the visiting team, which is set to encounter India in a much-awaited World Cup semi-final match in Mohali on March 30, to use "the reverse psychology" with Akhtar, who will retire from international cricket after the ongoing mega event.

"Say to him [Akhtar] your career has been marred by controversies, here is an opportunity for you to become the hero of the nation by getting your team a couple of quick wickets with the new ball. Shoaib needs to be pumped up, he needs to be fired up. Give him an opening burst of 5 overs and ensure he has bowled his quota of 10 overs by the 30th over," he said.

Talking about Afridi, Sohail said the captain has to be "more attacking, he has to remain cool and Pakistan have to remember they have nothing to lose as nobody gave Pakistan a chance."

"One thing Shahid Afridi has to do in a pressure game as a captain is to smell blood. Once you "smell the blood of the opposition", you have to go for the kill," he said.

"What we have seen Shahid Afridi doing in the World Cup at times is that when he needed to go for the kill, he hung back a little bit and was defensive. He cannot afford to do this against India," he added.

Sohail conceded that "India are the clear favourites - no doubt about it."

"They are playing at home, battle hardened and have featured in some close games in the ongoing World Cup," he said, adding, "Pakistan on the other hand have been playing very well and have come into the semi final stage quietly."


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