Friday, July 19, 2024

Afridi wants to play very good brand of cricket

Dhaka: Shahid Afridi sent a warning message to those people who wrote off Pakistan’s chance as he underlined his side  ‘most dangerous’ in the World Cup.
“This is a message for the other teams- no one can underestimate us,” said the Pakistan captain at a press conference at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Saturday. “When I said dangerous, it meant don’t underestimate the Pakistan team. I think we are here with a very good bunch of youngsters and experienced players. It is good to see Kamran Akmal back in the team, Misbah-ul-Haque too is in very good form and Younus Khan is doing a great job. I think my team is perfect. We also have two genuine spinners and a fast bowler like Shoaib Akhtar,” he clarified.
Considering Pakistan’s recent performance it was easy to throw them at pan. But given their ‘unpredictable’ tag and their heroics in the 1992 World Cup, it was not easy to dismiss their chance. When Imran Khan led Pakistan to win the World Cup in 1992, they had no prospect initially with losing most of the matches in the group phase as worst as it could be. The Pakistan incredibly woke up from the hibernation in the later phase to clinch the title which no could imagine in their wild dream.
This team is not comparable in any aspect with the 1992 World Cup team. And it’s the team which came to the World Cup as the off-field and on-field row totally gripped them. Still the captain could dare sending a message towards their opponents.
Shahid Afridi however played down the row like match fixing or other issues as he earmarked his side a united group.
“The team is now totally out of those issues. We are now focused on to our game. We played well in the New Zealand and the boys are united. They feel hungry,” said the hard hitter batsman, who was announced the captain for just a week ago.
“We’ve been going through a very tough situation. As a captain I am very happy because we were trying to rebuild the team. The team is now morally high and has gelled,” he opined.
He also said that he enjoyed his role as well as focused on his performance to inspire the team.
“I enjoyed my role as captain. But I am focusing on my performance,” he said.
When asked to single out any player’s name who could be the potential match winner, Afridi like a diplomatic captain heaved praise on his every player of the term as match winner.
“Every player of my team is match winner. There is no special one. All 15 members of the squad is match winner,” he remarked.
The Pakistan captain however did not set any specific goal.. “We are happy to be here at last and we came here to play very good brand of cricket.”
Pakistan captain showered praise on the team management also as they helped the side to re-unite.
“I, Inti bhai and Waqar Younis are trying to keep the team as a unit. Our dressing room atmosphere is much better. We are trying to keep the boys as close as we can and we hope we can be very successful.”
Pakistan lost the right to organise World Cup along the three neighbours following a militants attack on Sri Lankan players during 2009. Afterwards they also deprived of organising any international matches in their country as the foreign teams were reluctant to visit the country. Afridi reckoned winning the World Cup is the best way to back cricket in Pakistan again.
“We have very good support in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. If we win the World Cup, it would be a good message for world cricket that we want to play cricket, and maybe next time it will be held in Pakistan as well,” he thought.
Afridi reiterated that it would be nice if both India and Pakistan could play in the World Cup final.
Pakistan will play their first warm-up match with Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on February 15.
Meanwhile, England will be the third team to arrive in Dhaka on Sunday. They will face Pakistan in a warm-up match at Fatullah Stadium on February 16. Canada and Pakistan have already raeached the city to join the World Cup opening ceremony on  February 17.

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