MOHSIN ALI

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Twenty20 cricket team captain Shahid Khan Afridi has said that passion and teamwork are the two major things which can help green caps win the World T20 trophy in India.

Afridi attended a ceremony at Bahria Town, Rafi Cricket Stadium, where Peshawar Zalmi team, with its owner Javed Afrdi, was present, as Bahria Town becomes the major sponsor of Peshawar franchise in the upcoming Pakistan Super League ((PSL).

Talking to The Nation, Afridi said: “The time is ripe when all of us should get united and enter the World T20 with new belief and passion and win the coveted trophy for the second time in our history and India is the best place to achieve this goal.”

Terming his batting form a sign of worry and accepted his batting let him down against the Kiwis but he also vowed to sign off from his international cricket in style. “I can’t win man of the match awards in every game, so other players must have to perform for the team, as it is a collective effort, which is required to lift the national team.”

To a query regarding issue of reliable openers in the team with World T20 is just round the corner, Afridi replied: “Yes, I am very concerned about Ahmed Shahzad’s form and so was the case with other players, especially Sohaib Maqsood, who always keeps on complaining about his batting order and wants to bat up the order. He was given chances almost at every number, but his performance is still questionable. Ahmed Shahzad, Sohaib and others should toughen up or be prepared for the axe. Off course, the World T20 is the biggest stage and I want to deliver well for the country.”

About the poor show of green caps against Kiwis in T20s, he said: “We have tried different experiments in New Zealand, which unfortunately didn’t pay off and were against our expectations. Anyhow, there is still time left, we have identified grey areas where we need to work and I am sure we will soon overcome our mistakes and bounce back in style.”

When asked about whether he missed the services of top T20 performer Sohail Tanveer, Afridi replied: “Off course, we badly missed Sohail and M Irfan, as they were very much in frame and now they will surely get a chance. Umar Gul is a quality and proven stuff but he needs match practice to regain his form. I hope he will work hard and start producing quality results soon. M Irfan is very much part of the ODI squad and will definitely get chances to prove his fitness and win back his place in T20 squad as well. Now each and every place is on offer, every player has to deliver and give 100 percent to retain his place in the squad. Nobody can expect favours, as the only way of cementing the place is performance and hard work.”

Speaking about Pakistan Super League (PSL), the T20 captain said: “The PSL is a big platform for not only youngsters to prove their worth, but also for seniors to regain their form. I am quite confident the PSL will play key role in helping our preparations for the World T20 and Asia Cup. Playing alongside world’s best players will help players, coaches and others a great deal to share their experiences and overcome their shortcomings. The PSL is a great initiative taken by the PCB and it is bound to click. I have witnessed great enthusiasm amongst the players and they are eagerly waiting to perform in the PSL.”

To a query regarding M Aamir’s return to international cricket, Afridi said: “Aamir needs support of masses, players and media. As long as he gets the desired support, he will continue to flourish. He is gradually getting back into rhythm, his body language and attitude is highly positive, so it is my request to all that please spare him and buck him up so that he may deliver for national team.”