Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi dismisses fears over playing in India

The all-rounder says that his side are ready to play their quarter-final match at any venue.

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KARACHI // Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, says his team are happy to play their World Cup knockout stage matches in India despite earlier voicing concerns over security.

"It does not matter to us where we play our quarter-final. The biggest issue for us was to qualify for the knockout stage and we have done that now," Afridi said on Geo TV. "We are ready to play our quarter-final at any venue."

Afridi had started a debate in Pakistan cricket circles earlier in the competition when he said that his team would like to avoid playing their knockout matches in India and preferred to remain in Sri Lanka.

Afridi had reasoned that playing in India would bring more pressure on the players because of the tense relations between the two nations.

"That is a thing of the past. Right now we are just happy to make the quarter-final and if we remain in our confident mode then it does not matter where our quarter-final venue is," Afridi added.

Imran Khan, Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning captain, had criticised Afridi for publicly airing his views on not wanting to play in India.

"If I had been in his place I would have announced we are ready to take on India in India because there is more pressure and expectations on the Indian team," Khan told Reuters in an earlier interview.

India broke off bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan following the militant attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and since then no Pakistani player have appeared in the Indian Premier League.

Pakistan's last cricket tour to India was in late 2007 although they have met in International Cricket Council (ICC) competitions on neutral grounds.

India will host one quarter-final, a semi-final and the final of the World Cup.

Afridi said his team had now come out of their bleak spot-fixing scandal period and was just focusing on the World Cup.

"The off-the-field problems for us are over now and the mood is confident in the dressing room. We now just want to end our group with a win over Australia and we have the firepower to do that," he said.

Pakistan were to co-host the World Cup with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but it was withdrawn following a militant attack on the touring Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.

Afridi's men sealed their last-eight place yesterday with a rain-affected win over Zimbabwe in Kandy, Sri Lanka.