Public support has always boosted Pakistan, says Afridi

Saturday, February 19, 2011

KARACHI - Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has asked his countrymen to rally behind the team saying their support can propel them to win the World Cup.

Not many critics are giving Pakistan much chances of regaining the World Cup title, but Afridi seems quite confident that his team can go all the way in the 14-nation event.

Afridi believes Pakistan will benefit from the fact that it is not being counted among the major contenders for the title.

“I think it’s good for us that we won’t go into the World Cup as favourites because that would ease a lot of pressure off our shoulders,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Life Illustrated.

“But it doesn’t mean that I agree with the experts. As a member of the Pakistan team as well as its captain I’m confident that we can do it. We can bring back the Cup home,” stressed the flamboyant allrounder.

“I believe that our main strength is our unity. Individual brilliance can produce good results, but not enough to win a World Cup. Only a team that plays together can think about winning the World Cup. As captain, I’m really pleased that Pakistan are finally playing like such a team,” he stressed.

Afridi believes that World Cup 2011 will be Pakistan’s Cup.

“I’m never comfortable with making predictions but I must say that my heart tells me that it is going to be our World Cup. That’s because the team is playing well and the boys are fully motivated and really hungry for World Cup glory,” he said.

“I derive a lot of strength from the fact that our people are really supporting us. Public support has always been a major factor behind Pakistan’s success in the sporting arena. I still remember the 1992 World Cup when people’s prayers turned out to be a major factor behind Pakistan’s success as they came back from the jaws of elimination to win the title.”

Afridi said that his team’s morale is high as it lands in Sri Lanka Sunday ahead of its opening match against Kenya in Hambantota, Wednesday.

“We have played a lot of cricket in the last eight or nine months but thankfully our players are fully fit and the level of energy is high amongst them. I have great expectations from all of my boys - the seniors and the juniors.

“Senior players like Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul will have to inspire young kids like Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad and Asad Shafiq to give their best. For the seniors, it will be one more opportunity to tell the world that Pakistan’s cricketers are among the best in the world. For the juniors, it will be a perfect platform to get the sort of breakthrough they deserve,” he said.

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