Hype for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was instigated last week with the announcement of the schedule for the quadrennial tournament.
For Pakistan, it will be a special occasion as they will return to the destination where the side clinched their maiden world title in 1992. The expectations from the team will mount amid memories of Imran Khan’s success with his ‘cornered tigers’, a group not many fancied to triumph.
Shahid Afridi, currently Pakistan’s most celebrated cricketer, who expressed his desire to represent Pakistan in the tournament, is also excited and has called for proper planning to prepare for the challenge.
“It’s high time to start thinking about the 2015 World Cup,” Afridi told The Express Tribune.
“A preliminary squad comprising a total of 22 players must be selected at this stage. Then the authorities must stick with these players and utilise them on assignments falling before the World Cup including next year’s World Twenty20.
“The authorities must avoid changes from that selected squad so that players can get time to develop consistency, which has been our biggest problem.”
The veteran suggested players should be selected as per their expertise.
“If a player is not an expert in limited overs and is good at Test cricket, he must not be picked in One-Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20s and must be restricted to the longer version and vice versa,” added Afridi, who retired from Tests in 2010, saying the format did not suit his style.
Afridi satisfied after regaining form
Dropped from the Champions Trophy squad, the former captain enjoyed yet another successful comeback by playing a vital part in Pakistan’s ODIs and Twenty20 series triumph over the West Indies in the recently concluded tour of the Caribbean.
Afridi credited hard work for his performance.
“I strived a lot which is why I got the success,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on me to perform and I am satisfied with my performance.”
Afridi, with 358 scalps in ODIs, admitted he struggled with his bowling but said he was now starting to regain his form.
“My performance against the West Indies has boosted my confidence in bowling,” said Afridi, who finished as the highest wicket-taker in the 3-1 ODI series win over the West Indies with ten scalps.
With the series against Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sri Lanka in the line-up, the 33-year old is back to work, seeking more consistency.
“I have started work in the gym. It’s difficult while fasting but I want to maintain my rhythm. There are a lot of important series coming ahead and I want to be more effective as I know my performance has a major impact on the team.
Afridi recently reached the milestone of hitting 400 sixes in international cricket and has now set sights on taking 400 wickets to become only the third Pakistan player after Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to do so.
“Records have never been my target. I just want to give winning performances for my team in each game and that has always been my aim.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.
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