Pakistan aims for ‘maximum’ victories before cricket World Cup

Karachi: Pakistan’s one-day captain Shahid Afridi aims to put his faltering team back on track by winning the “maximum number” of matches in the lead up to next year’s cricket World Cup.

“Victories serve as a tonic, which is why we should try our best to win as many matches as possible before the World Cup. It will raise our morale and give us much-needed confidence before playing the World Cup,” said Afridi.

“For us, the World Cup is an all-important assignment and we have to ensure that Pakistan field the best possible team in the event,” said Afridi.

“It’s critical for us to try out our best possible players in the upcoming series against South Africa and New Zealand so that we are clear about our World Cup squad.”

Afridi, 30, is often accused by some critics of “interfering” in selection matters but the all-rounder believes that as captain, it is his job to give much-needed inputs before the national team is decided.

“I make it a point to give the selectors my input because I’m the one who has to get the desired results from my team on the field,” said Afridi.

“What I want from them is a pool of 20 players from which we can finalise our World Cup squad and I was hoping to get it ahead of the series against South Africa.”

Pakistan are scheduled to leave for Abu Dhabi Oct 23 for playing two Tests, an equal number of Twenty20s and five One-day Internationals against South Africa.

The series, which begins with a T20 game Oct 26 is Pakistan’s home series but will be played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai because of security-related issues.

While Afridi will lead Pakistan in the limited-overs matches, experienced batsman Misbah-ul-Haq will be their captain in the Test series.

After the UAE, Pakistan will play a full series against New Zealand in New Zealand. The series will conclude just weeks before the World Cup and Afridi believes that Pakistan should make up their mind about their World Cup squad before the New Zealand series.

“I would suggest that we should send those players to New Zealand, who will be playing in the World Cup,” said Afridi.