Lahore [Pakistan], July 14 (betway.com login now): Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has thrown his weight behind the Pakistan men's national team following their ODI series loss against England. The Babar Azam-led side lost the final game at Edgbaston on Tuesday to hand England a 3-0 series win.
Afridi, who represented Pakistan in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is in a 20-year-long and distinguished international career, feels the players need the support of the fans and critics when they are down after a poor performance.
"At present, the players representing the Pakistan national team are the best we have in terms of talent and ability. These players have performed consistently in recent times, in fact, some of them have been performing for a considerable time period. These are our best players, they are the ones whose talent we have to utilise. We need to keep them motivated and hungry for success. We need to support the players in tough times, as a cricket fan and former player," Afridi said in a release issued by PCB.
"I can accept the team losing as long as they fight it out on the field. I feel that cricket has changed a lot in recent years. Now, attack is the best defence and there is no way to succeed other than by playing with an attacking intent, especially in the white-ball formats. Our players are good at either attacking or blocking. Maybe, we need to find a middle way, especially for the ODI format. All our players need to back their abilities and play on their actual strength," he added.
Afridi, who played a leading role in Pakistan's ICC World T20 2009 victory, feels the current side has the potential to match the exploits of the Younis Khan-led 2009 side, especially since the tournament is taking place in the UAE where Pakistan have played a lot of cricket with success against some of the leading teams in the world.
"In the UAE, we have a very good record and have done very well against some top-ranked teams and that augurs well for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. Spinners and batters will have a prominent role to play in the UAE conditions. If the ball starts to reverse, then we have the potential of being the very best, if we play to our strength, we have a good chance of winning the tournament."
Afridi concluded that he remains committed to fitness and cricket, and would continue to play franchise and club cricket as long as he is enjoying the game and remained fit, as this was the desire of his late father. (betway.com login now)