KARACHI: Pakistan limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi said that a win in the upcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand will set the right tone ahead of the World Cup that starts on February 19.
Afridi along with all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, batsman Ahmed Shahzad, fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal left for New Zealand last night to join the team for the six-match ODI series that starts on January 22. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who returned home following the demise of his father, also left with the group.
Afridi said his team will go all out for the series win. “The series is very important because it’s the last before the World Cup,” Afridi told The Express Tribune. “We will try to win maximum matches to gain the confidence ahead of the important event.”
The experienced all-rounder, however, expected a stiff battle from the hosts and said that all the players will have to perform in order to achieve the desired result.
“New Zealand is a very good limited-overs side especially at home. All the players will have to play a part as victory would only come through collective effort.”
The all-rounder added that his performance was also crucial. “Performance of a captain counts a lot in the team’s overall performance and I am looking forward to contributing as a team member as well.”
Pakistan lost the Twenty20 series 2-1 at the start of the tour but Afridi was unperturbed and was looking at positives that came out in the series.
“We were not impressive but I’m looking at the positives. We won the third match comprehensively which lifted our morale.”
He said the outcome of the ongoing Test series will play a major role before the start of the ODIs.
“Our victory in the last T20 lifted the morale which can be seen in Tests. Similarly, the result of the Test series will reflect in the ODI series.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2011.