Explosive, big-hitting Pakistan star all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who is currently undergoing a week-long rehabilitation programme after suffering a strain during the match against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, has rated Pakistan as the best limited-overs side in the world, but still wants his side to improve their fielding. Afridi is confident of recovering in time for the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh when Pakistan’s campaign kicks off against arch rivals India on March 21.
Afridi sounded confident at Pakistan’s recent upturn in form, most notably reaching the final of the Asia Cup and defeating Sri Lanka in the ODI series in UAE in December. “I can’t see a better (limited-overs) combination in the world than Pakistan because our bowling attack is good, batting line-up is good but the only weakness we have is in fielding and fielding is the most essential thing in limited-overs cricket,” Afridi said at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.
Pakistan have arrived in Bangladesh on Thursday and Afridi is expected to join the rest of his teammates in a few days time. Pakistan will get adequate time to get acquainted to the conditions and will face New Zealand on March 17 and South Africa on March 19, and Afridi expects to play a part in atleast one of the warm-up games. “I am recovering well. I am confident I will play at least one warm-up game.”
Afridi’s skipper Mohammad Hafeez said on Wednesday that winning their opening encounter against India a week from today could give Pakistan much-needed momentum for the rest of the competition. And Pakistan’s star man was equally upbeat about next Friday’s high-stakes encounter : “We will try our best, all will join in that effort in the match against India. We won the previous game against India and I believe that will benefit us this time around.”
Afridi seemed to have rediscovered his hitting range with match-winning performances against India and Bangladesh, and was keen to play as a floating batsman in the upcoming World T20. “I think one should be flexible, if there are five-six overs left then I can go higher up the order but it will depend on the match situation and overs.”