Playing the pressure game


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MS Dhoni and Shahid Afridi were men of instinct, who refuse to abide by appointment. Both are distinguished by their daring attitude, but his defensive leaders. On Wednesday she is, and not their prime ministers, which will be the main men in Mohali. Their decisions will influence a contest which gained hysterical proportions.

So on the eve of the semifinals, described by some as a propaganda-driven television mahayudh (Great War), Dhoni and Afridi were careful to conceal their nerves behind the smiles and flashes of humor.

Afridi was in time for its interaction with the media. Dhoni had arrived late, not unusual event in the World Cup, and some of the Indian management could never explain. So even if Dhoni was packing, Afridi was already in the room exchanging pleasantries with the Pakistani media.

Afridi is a restless man, always looking for something – usually mischief. Had emerged before Dhoni, Afridi was beside him, smiling but looking for his colleague in the eye. He shook hands and then hit his arm over the shoulder of Dhoni’s. The camera men went berserk. A moment later Afridi sitting, prone, in control and ready to take on the world. For the next 15 minutes Afridi media questions in the mind of a stand-up comedian. His answers were spontaneous, abrupt, in short bursts and left everyone chuckle.

Asked if fast bowlers from Pakistan would be the same strategy of short bowling the Australians were employed in the quarterfinals, Afridi shot back: “And khaye unon ne mare (they have beaten).” Why not Pakistan training today? “Why, do you not like?” Afridi reacted. Someone asked whether Pakistan, a team with a young average age, could handle the pressure of a big game in front of a partisan crowd. Afridi completely misunderstood the question in the first instance, and it was again requested. His answer was derailed. “Age is less? You tell me that? Average age bolo na, yaar (say you mean the average age). Average still really is not such a big thing. It can always be increased. This is a match increased to averages. ”

Afridi then put on his serious hat, admission of a positive result would have an enormous significance for Pakistan cricket, which had plunged into a crisis after three players were charged in a scandal-spot during the English tour of last year. “It is very important,” Afridi said. “This World Cup a lot of things for us because we are trying to bring cricket back home.”

Afridi said the most important thing his players had to do was enjoy the game. He even thought Pakistan was an advantage. “The main thing is if you know how to handle the pressure, do not panic in.

“We enjoy our cricket because we are not the most favorite team in this league. India is the most favorite team. We played above our expectations. So we are very confident.”

While Afridi was at his ease, Dhoni and behaved as if he were a tightrope. The game had attracted extra attention, and will be attended by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, other celebrities and political heavy weights. Was it hard to remain immune to the hype? “It would not affect us really because we all know it’s a big tournament and we have a common,” said Dhoni. “We play the semi-finals. The key is how you prepare yourself, no matter what happens around you. And that’s what we have done over the last few days.”

Was there not the danger of losing focus in such an environment? “It depends on what you actually mean by hype – the hype created by the media, the sponsors, we are not to be drawn and that is what is important, you should be aware of what we expected to do and we are expected to .. play good cricket on the field. All these things are part of the Indian cricket team for a long time. Of course the biggest distinguished guests will be there to see the game, but they are here to cricket, which means we will enjoy to play well and we will properly prepare and see how it goes. ”

Dhoni said his team was focused and had to accept the attention. And it was not the first time players were part of such an experience. “When you talk about hype, pressure, etc., one thing is certain: whether you think or not to think about it, I do not think it really helps to carry out what does not help you So you should implement . kept away. ”

The foreign media was more interested in whether cricket was playing bridge in bringing the two neighbors back to the mediation table after bilateral talks between India and Pakistan were broken after the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. Dhoni said he would prefer a player who is a diplomat.

Neither Dhoni nor Afridi would readily admit that the pressure would be immense. Afridi acted as if he did not have a care in the world. Dhoni said the focus would remain on the match. If both run in the din created by 28,000 fans, their nerves will face a tremendous test.


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