Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi warned different cricket groups to not “underestimate” the inexperienced shirts as they’ve proficient gamers who can spring just a few surprises within the T20 World Cup.
The field workplace trailblazer of Pakistan’s white ball cricket believes his “unpredictable” nation can summon the spirit of 2009 and win one other T20 World Cup.
Afridi was man of the match in a nail-biting seven-run semi-final win over South Africa within the event 12 years in the past the place he made 51 runs.
He then starred once more within the eight-wicket rout of Sri Lanka within the last at Lord’s the place he smashed an undefeated 54.
Pakistan’s victory got here simply three months after a terror assault on the Sri Lanka staff in Lahore, an incident which sparked a shutdown of worldwide cricket within the nation.
“We had that issue of the Sri Lanka attacks on our minds,” Afridi informed AFP.
“The entire nation was disillusioned and annoyed in order that win was very a lot wanted.
“The win gave the whole nation happiness and some unforgettable moments.”
Afridi famously stormed onto the scene in 1996 when he broke the file for the quickest century in ODI cricket, reaching his hundred from 37 balls.
It was a file which stood till 2014.
Afridi, who performed 99 T20 Internationals for Pakistan, thinks latest setbacks can once more encourage Babar Azam’s staff within the 2021 T20 showpiece.
A month earlier than the mega-event, head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis resigned, apparently believing new board chairman Ramiz Raja would sack them anyway.
Then New Zealand deserted their tour of the nation simply minutes earlier than the primary ODI in Rawalpindi.
Three days later, England additionally withdrew its males’s and girls’s groups from visiting Pakistan.
“This is Pakistan cricket for you, never ever a dull day,” added Afridi ruefully.
“Pakistan can surprise any team in the world. Rule them out at your peril.”
In his 22-year worldwide profession, Afridi was on the coronary heart of Pakistan’s “topsy-turvy” experience in restricted overs cricket.
Afridi anchored Pakistan’s run to the ultimate within the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007, taking 12 wickets which earned him the participant of the event award.
Pakistan, nevertheless, misplaced twice towards arch-rivals India — together with the ultimate.
“Pakistan gave the best entertainment in the first T20 World Cup,” insists Afridi.
“We lost to India in the group match after a bowl-out, which was something very new for us.”
Pakistan then misplaced the ultimate with Misbah-ul-Haq falling to an injudicious shot off the third ball of the ultimate over, with simply six wanted for a win.
“Misbah brought Pakistan into the game but then we lost by the barest of margins,” mentioned Afridi.
Below Afridi, defending champions Pakistan then misplaced within the semi-final of the 2010 version within the Caribbean when Michael Hussey clobbered 39 runs within the final two overs to offer Australia an unlikely win.
“T20 suits our character,” added Afridi. “We have now the expertise, strategy and aggression required for this fast format.
“It’s a format which is liked all through Pakistan. We received towards each staff after which each staff adopted that fashion.
“Bowling is now full of variety and new batting techniques have developed.”
Afridi insists Pakistan can as soon as once more spring just a few surprises within the UAE.
“The current Pakistan team is very talented although they lack experienced players. But, as we all know, never under-estimate a Pakistan team!”