Afridi optimistic of Pakistan’s progress in shorter formats

Former captain believes youngsters are performing good but there is still a long way to go

Afridi optimistic of Pakistan’s progress in shorter formats PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi has shown optimism in team’s chances for the next year’s 50-over International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup and 2020 World T20.

Pakistan, under the leadership of wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed, defeated Australia in the final of the T20I Tri-Series in Harare on Sunday to retain the top spot in the rankings.

It was the ninth consecutive series where the Green Caps ended up victorious — a new record in the format.

Afridi, who captained the Men in Green in the 2016 edition of the World T20, expressed those views while talking to the ICC.

“I think it’s still a long way to go and I think the way our boys are playing is very good,” said Afridi. “All the youngsters, they’re doing a great job, and InshAllah we’re hoping they’re going to do well for Pakistan."

Afridi, who is still active in franchise-based T20 competition in different parts of the world, believes 20-over format is ideal to increase sports popularity at the global stage.

“I think with T20, you can introduce cricket anywhere in the world, it’s a short format and I think the people who don’t have enough time to sit in front of the TV or come to the ground to see a whole day,” he said. “I think this is a great entertainment to people who don’t know about cricket — you can show them, you can bring the people for two or three hours and they can learn a lot from this cricket.”

Afridi is famous for hard-hitting abilities which earned him the title of ‘Boom Boom’, but the Khyber Agency-born all-rounder believes he is more of a bowler than batsman.

“I always consider myself as a bowling all-rounder,” he said. “I think in batting, I’m not that consistent, but in bowling I am very consistent. When I started my cricket, I started as a bowler. So I think, I feel good and if you look in to my performance I’m always very consistent with my bowling.”  

Afridi will be turning out for Jamaica Tallawahs in the next edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), whose three matches will be played in Florida, and the 38-year-old showed excitement over the development.

“Yeah, I heard that we are playing three games in America and I have never played any game in America, but let’s see. I don’t know how the ground is or how the pitch will behave, but I’m very excited to play in America,” he said.