Dhaka: Pakistan’s Cricket team captain Shahid Afridi has warned World Cup rivals not to underestimate Pakistani Cricket Team, terming his team has strength to beat any team in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. “We all know how important the World Cup is for us and for Pakistan, SAMAA TV quoted Shahid Afridi. Afridi also expressed his satisfaction over his team for the mega-event, saying: “We have a very good bunch of youngsters and some experienced players.”
The flamboyant all-rounder said that the Pakistan team was “focused and united” under his leadership. “They feel hungry to win a big event and want to play good cricket,” he said, adding that the recent wins in New Zealand had bolstered the team’s morale. “I think we’re really going through a very tough situation,” said Afridi, adding, “But I am very happy because we are trying to rebuild the team and keep the morale high. I am confident the team is in very good shape now.”
He admitted that Pakistan had been in low morale by the spot-fixing scandals of Pakistani trio including former Test captain Salman Butt and two bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, banned by ICC for at least five years for bringing corruption in game.
He paid tribute to team manager Intikhab Alam and coach Waqar Yunus for keeping the squad in good spirits amid the controversy. “They are really doing a very good job,” he said. “They have assured the atmosphere in the dressing room is healthy. We are trying to keep the boys together as a unit.”
“It is good to see Kamran Akmal back in the team. Misbah-ul Haq is in good form and Younis Khan is also batting well,” the captain pointed out. “I am also very happy with our bowling. We have two genuine spinners and some good fast bowlers, especially Shoaib Akhtar,” he added. Afridi said that fans would see a vastly improved Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, and added: “Inshallah (God willing), we will achieve our goal.”
Pakistan had initially supposed to co-host ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, however hosting rights were taken back in wake of terrorist attacks on visiting Sri Lankan team in 2009. Afridi expressed the hope that international cricket would return to his country soon. “We are desperate to host the best teams. I am sure that will happen in the near future,” he said.
Input from Agencies