Shahid Afridi urges fans to support Pakistan team after England drubbing

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KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has urged fans to support the country’s players after they suffered a humiliating loss in the ODI series against England.

The green shirts were heavily criticised by supporters and former players over their performance against a “B-grade” England team. They asked for the removal of coaches Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis.

But Afridi, one of the most popular Pakistani cricketers, feels players need the support of fans and critics when they are down after a poor performance.

“At present, the players representing the Pakistan national team are the best we have in terms of talent and ability. These players have performed consistently in recent times. In fact, some of them have been performing for a considerable time period. These are our best players, they are the ones whose talent we have to utilize,” he said in a video statement.

The star batsman said we need to keep the players motivated and hungry for success and support them in tough times.

“I can accept the team losing as long as they fight it out on the field. I feel that cricket has changed a lot in recent years. Now, attacking is the best defence and there is no way to succeed other than by playing with an intent to attack, especially in white-ball formats.”

Afridi said: “Our players are good at either attacking or blocking. Maybe we need to find a middle way, especially for the ODI format. All our players need to back their abilities and play on their actual strength.”

T20 World Cup

Afridi, who played a leading role in Pakistan’s ICC World T20 2009 victory, feels the current side has the potential to match the exploits of the Younis Khan-led 2009 side, especially since the tournament is taking place in the UAE where Pakistan have played a lot of cricket with success against some of the leading teams in the world.

“In the UAE, we have a very good record and have done very well against some top-ranked teams and that augurs well for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Spinners and batters will have a prominent role to play in the UAE conditions. If the ball starts to reverse, we have the potential to be the very best. If we play to our strength, we have a good chance of winning the tournament.”

He concluded that he remains committed to fitness and cricket, and will continue to play franchise and club cricket as long as he is enjoying the game and remains fit, as this was his late father’s wish.

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