Kolkata: Pakistan's all-win record against India at the Eden Gardens will play a big role as they look to seal the ODI series here on Thursday, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said. "We have some good memories as a team. Also our players have done well here. Confidence plays a big role in cricket. If you've good record, it gives more confidence," Misbah said on the eve of their second one-dayer.
Pakistan had last won a ODI series in India way back in 2004-05 but Misbah said they were living in the present. "India-Pakistan is always an important series. We don't remember exactly when we won here. But this is a very important series. We will put together all our energies and planning to play good cricket. Each game is a new game you have to put in your best."
Misbah is yet to score a century from 107 ODIs but the skipper said it does not bother him as long as he's contributing to the team's cause. "I don't think so it makes a difference. It's important what the team needs. Winning is more important, if a century comes then it's most welcome."
A vital cog in Pakistan's ODI scheme of things, Shahid Afridi is not part of the side and Misbah said the side wants the allrounder to return to form and make a comeback. "There's no doubt he has been a main player of the team for so long, especially in the middle-order. Even we miss him and it's difficult to fill in the void, especially the difference he would do with his bowling giving vital breakthroughs.
"We want his form back. And, till he comes back, we have to manage with the youngsters. Every player goes through a rough patch. But he's not out forever. He can come back any time. He has a lot of cricket left in him."
Misbah praised promising fast bowlers Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan: "They are very talented. If they can carry on like this they would be a fine prospects and will give results in future."
Tall pacer Irfan had some niggle in the last match but Misbah said he's fully fit and raring to go. "He's fully fit. In the first ten overs, he makes a big difference with his unusual bounce he's generating. It's a big advantage to have someone like him."
Asked about the tension involving India-Pakistan match, he said: "There's pressure always in the first match but if you play more often, it becomes normal."
On the pitch, he said: "Our team has been playing well so it doesn't make a difference how the pitch behaves. The team that plays well on the given day would win. We hope to play well."
On the new ODI rules, he said: "It's been difficult for the bowlers. For batsmen, also it's different to rotate the strike but they have more boundary opportunities."
Asked about the absence of Sachin Tendulkar in Indian ODI line-up, Misbah said, "When legendary players like Sachin retires, it makes a big impact. India will miss him for sometime. It would take time for another player to achieve the experience and class."
Like Dhoni, Misbah too believes in keeping things cool even when situation goes out of control. "It's important to go out there and give 100 per cent. Winning and losing sometimes are not in your control. Anger does not help you on the field."