Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has come to the support of the beleaguered national side after it was whitewashed by a second string England team in the ODI series.
Afridi, one of the most popular Pakistan cricketers, said in a video message shared by the Pakistan Cricket Board media department that there was a need to keep the players motivated and hungry for success.
“We need to support the players in tough times, as a cricket fan and former player,” he said one day after the Shahid Afridi Foundation signed another two year deal with the PCB to be their charity partner.
Afridi who represented Pakistan in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is in a 20-year-long international career, felt 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.
“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.
Afridi noted that Pakistani players are good at either attacking or blocking and maybe there’s a need to find a middle way, especially in the ODI format.
Afridi also felt that the present Pakistan team had the potential to match the exploits of the Younis Khan-led 2009 side which won the World T20 in England in 2009.
He said he felt this because since the World T20 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.”