‘Fail in Asia Cup, lose World Cup spot’
Shahid Afridi, Pakistan captain fired a stern warning salvo at the national players, and called upon them to pull up their socks during the Asia Cup in Bangladesh or lose their place for the ICC T20 World Cup in March this year.
“Everyone's been given a lot of chances to do come good. I believe the captains, coach and selection committee have all very supportive. But if you don't give the results... and we are not asking for too much, just do your bit to contribute. There's the Asia Cup now, where more players will get chances. But if there are others showing good form here, sure why not we can have them for the World T20." Boom Boom said to Cricbuzz.
Although Pakistan named their 15-man squad for the World T20 last week, the explosive allrounder said that ‘last minute’ changes could yet be made based on the performances of players in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Asia Cup T20, which commences February 29.
International cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had earlier set February 8 as the initial deadline to submit the World T20 squads. According to an ICC official, member nations can tinker with their team combinations until March 8.
Pakistan T20 skipper, at the age of 35 is now heading into a crucial final chapter of his decorated playing career. Afridi is expected to call time post next month's ICC World T20 in India, and had his hands full lately with the added responsibility of leading Peshawar in Pakistan Super League (PSL) apart from the selection duties, media and corporate commitments. His bowling form looks good, and the 5 for 7 in Sharjah against Quetta couldn't have come at a better time for Boom Boom Afridi.
"I have always given importance to my individual performances," Pakistan T20 skipper says. "A leader's performance is very important and it is essential that I contribute. I believe in this part of the world, we can sometimes lack in consistency but I'm hoping to continue this through the Asia Cup and until the end of the World Cup.”
The erratic and yet entertaining Afridi has spent nearly 20 years on the international circuit, but the zeal for cricket is still the same as it was on October 4, 1996 when Boom Boom announced his arrival with the fastest ton in one-day internationals, 102 off just 40 balls with 11 massive hits, some out of the ground at Nairobi Gymkhana.