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Malik shouldn't have issued match-fixing warning to Pak team "at such a time": Afridi

March 29, 2011 - Islamabad

Pakistan's World Cup captain Shahid Afridi has expressed his disappointment over Interior Minister Rehman Malik's public warning to the cricket team against match-fixing at a time when it stands at a highly critical juncture of the tournament.

Malik had said on Monday that Pakistani intelligence agencies were keeping a close watch on the players in the semi-final because of last year's spot-fixing scandal that had rocked Pakistan cricket.

"Rehman Malik should not have given a statement regarding match fixing on the occasion of World Cup," Geo TV quoted Afridi, as saying via telephone during a programme.

"I don't think he should have said such a thing at such a time," he said, however, adding that players mostly prefer to speak with one another instead of listening to news or reading newspapers.

Afridi also said that Pakistani players are 'quite satisfied' in India in all respects, adding that there were no security issues in the country.

The skipper, however, accused the Indian media of conducting a negative campaign against his team before the eagerly anticipated World Cup semi-final against India in Mohali on Wednesday.

"There is so much negativity in the Indian media. There is nothing positive to watch on the channels and we are just sticking together as a team and it is just the hotel and ground for us," Afridi said.

"The only answer we can give is with our performance. We will try to give 110 percent in this big match. Everyone knows how big a match this is and the pressures that come with it. But we will just do our best whatever the result. After the match we just want to be content in our hearts [that] we gave our best," he added.

Afridi played down his remarks about not allowing Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar to score runs in the semi-final.

"The Indian media has treated this negatively. There is never any doubt about Tendulkar's greatness. But if someone approaches me and asks me about him (Tendulkar) obviously as Pakistan captain I will not say we will allow him to score runs I will say we will ensure he doesn't get his 100th international century," he explained.

Afridi also said that Pakistan was considering playing fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who announced his retirement from international cricket after the ongoing World Cup, on March 17.

"I also want him to play but we have not taken a final decision as yet. And we have to take into consideration his match fitness and his form which we will see in the nets," he said.

"We want him in such a high-profile match but we don't want him for just four or five overs, we want him to bowl his full quota of overs," he added.


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