Kolkata: Seasoned Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik on Sunday advised his young teammates to just give their best shot in the March 19 game against India in the World Twenty20 and emerge a hero instead of getting bogged down by thinking too much about the high-pressure match.
Pakistan take on India in a Super Ten Group B tie at the Eden Gardens next Saturday.
“Obviously, when I am playing against India, I don’t think I take India like other teams. I think media creates a lot of hype for this match. Whichever youngster performs in that game becomes a superstar,” Malik said at a media meet here.
“So I tell everyone to go out there and give your best shot. When you start thinking we are going to play against India, everything comes on your mind and you don’t focus on the game.”
Pakistan came up with a poor show in the recent Asia Cup, but Malik is confident that the coming World Twenty20 would follow a different script.
“We could not live up to the expectations in the Asia Cup. That is part of our lives, part of our profession. What has happened has happened. We have come here to give our best and it’s a new tournament. We need to help each other. We will come up with our best,” the 34-year-old said.
Asked whether the underdogs tag was putting more pressure on his team ahead of the big event, Malik said Pakistan were rated as underdogs before both the 1992 World Cup and the 2009 World Twenty20 and ended up winning both.
“It’s good that we’re underdogs and that gives you a lot of confidence at the same time. We are here to do well,” he said.
“(In 1992) People were not expecting us to do well ut we won that. Same thing happened in 2007 World T20 when we did well before losing to India in the final. In 2009, we were not that big as a team but still we won. The same is the case going into this edition.”
Malik said Pakistan’s lack of match practice of late could be a reason for the side’s declining performance graph in the Twenty20 format.
“This can be one of the reasons. But PSL has started. The youngsters are enthusiastic. It is going to take bit of time to come up to the same level as other teams,” he said, and alluded to the Indian Premier League.
Malik, who has played in almost all batting positions for Pakistan, said, “I have never thought of batting at any one position. Because I started as an off spinner, then became a batsman. Don’t mind batting at any position as long as it is helping the team.”
He said the Pakistan batting has to improve for the side’s performance to go up.
“We need to improve our batting skills, techniques.”