Afridi warns against underestimating Pakistan

Updated: Feb 12, 2011, 19:01 PM IST

Dhaka: Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi issued a warning to the other World Cup teams on Saturday, saying that none should underestimate his side as his players were "focused and united" under his leadership.

"They feel hungry to win a big event and want to play good cricket," Afridi told reporters here.

Stating that a fruitful tour of New Zealand had bolstered the side’s morale, Afridi said Pakistan have left the spot-fixing scandal behind and are now eager to rebuild the team.

"I think we`re really going through a very tough situation. But I am very happy because we are trying to rebuild the team and keep the morale high," said Afridi, admitting that Pakistan team was severely jolted by the spot-fixing scandal.

Three players - former captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - were banned for five years by the International Cricket Council for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing, which ruled them out of the World Cup, and they now also face criminal proceedings in England.

But Afridi assured that the team was now completely focussing on the upcoming sporting extravaganza, starting from February 19 in Dhaka, as the country`s prestige is at stake.

"I am confident the team is in very good shape now. We all know how important the World Cup is for us and for our country. The message for other teams is that no one should underestimate us."

Confident of doing well in the mega-event, Afridi said his team was a right mix of youth and experience.

"We have a very good bunch of youngsters and some experienced players. It is good to see Kamran Akmal back in the team. Misbah-ul Haq is in good form and Younis Khan is also batting well.

"I am also very happy with our bowling. We have two genuine spinners and some good fast bowlers, especially Shoaib Akhtar," said Afridi.