Afridi hoping to revive Pak cricket by clinching one-day series against S. Africa

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

KARACHI - Pakistan’s One-day International (ODI) Captain Shahid Afridi is hoping to put his team’s World Cup 2011 preparations back on track by winning the upcoming one-day series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month.

“It’s all about confidence… We can improve our World Cup chances by boosting our confidence and should do that by winning matches against South Africa and later against New Zealand,” The News quoted Afridi, as saying.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20 Internationals against South Africa in Dubai later this month before taking on the Proteas in a five-match ODI series in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Afridi said he wanted his squad to put aside the bitter memories of the acrimonious England tour and give their best against South Africa.

“We have to forget what happened during the tour of England,” he said, adding, “What the team desperately needs is some good results and I’m sure that if we play to our potential we can do that against South Africa.”

Pakistan had lost to England in all three formats (3-1 in Tests, 3-2 in ODIs and 2-0 in T20s) during its last tour. But much more damaging for them was a ’spot-fixing’ scandal that resulted in the ICC provisionally suspending Pakistan’s Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

“We are going to miss the three because they are our key players,” Afridi stressed, referring to the tainted trio who are out of the current squad.

However, he added, “But we can’t just sit back and cry over it. We have to focus on the upcoming assignments and thankfully, we still have several match-winners in our side,”

Afridi expressed confidence that Pakistan’s spin attack would give the ‘hosts’ an edge on the slow and turning wickets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“Spinners will certainly be playing the major role in UAE,” said Afridi, himself an accomplished leg-spinner. “The wickets there should give them a lot of assistance.”

The national team is currently attending a brief training camp in Lahore where the coaches are focusing on fielding. “We are working hard to improve our fielding because that’s one area in which we have really struggled in the past,” Afridi noted. (ANI)

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