Afridi set sights on World Twenty20

Updated: Apr 15, 2011, 22:14 PM IST

Karachi: After falling to old rivals India in the World Cup semifinal last month, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has set his sights on the ICC World Twenty20 Championship to be played in Sri Lanka next year.

"The only way I can really overcome the disappointment of our defeat against India is by winning the Twenty20 World Cup," Afridi told The News in an interview.

Afridi said that he is focusing on the 2012 World Twenty20 Championship because he doesn`t know whether he will be playing international cricket in 2015 when the next edition of the World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand.

"I would love to be around for the 2015 World Cup but that`s like four years away. That`s why I`m just focusing on the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and want us to take the right steps to ensure that we raise a team that is good enough to win that tournament," he said.

Pakistan reached the final of the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 with Afridi emerging as one of their best players in the event. Later he played a pivotal role in Pakistan`s title-winning triumph in the second edition of the tournament in 2009 in England.

Afridi was Pakistan`s captain in the third ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies in 2010 when the Greenshirts fell to Australia in the semifinals from a seemingly-winning position.

Afridi, who is regarded as one of the most destructive all-rounders in the Twenty20 format, is confident that Pakistan can go all the way in Sri Lanka which will host the next edition of the hugely-popular tournament.

"We have won the Twenty20 World Cup before and we can do it again," he said.

But Afridi was quick to add that Pakistan will have to put together a winning formula in the lead up to the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Championship. And to achieve that, Afridi believes that Pakistan will have to learn a thing or two from India.

"The Indians started preparing for the World Cup almost two years before the event," he said. "We, too, will have to start right away in our preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup. We should be selecting players for limited-overs matches with an eye on that assignment. That`s the only way we can prepare ourselves in the best possible manner."

Afridi is of the view that Pakistan can bank on the existing pool of bowlers but their batting line-up is a different story.

"We have some of the world`s best spinners when it comes to limited-overs matches, especially Twenty20 Internationals. Same is the case with our pacers which is why I`m sure we won`t face many problems in raising a strong bowling attack for the Twenty World Cup," he said.

"But when it comes to batsmen, I`m not that sure. We lack quality batters both at the top and the middle-order. We need some really good, young guys who can strengthen our batting in the Twenty20 format."

Bureau Report