We must avoid club-level mistakes to excel in NZ, World Cup: Afridi

LAHORE: Pakistan’s T20 skipper and senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi said on Wednesday that the upcoming series against New Zealand bears great importance for Pakistan before the T20 World Cup and added that he has a balanced and competitive side under him which must guard itself against making silly mistakes.

The Pakistan team leaves for New Zealand on Jan 10 to play three T20 Internationals and as many One-day Internationals.

“We have a balanced side for the NZ tour but if we commit club level mistakes, we can’t beat any team,” he said candidly. “The World Cup is all about best players and best teams. Senior players should take more responsibility but at the same time juniors also have to share the burden as it is difficult to stage a comeback in T20 cricket after committing mistakes.”

“Our batsmen have to produce big partnerships and have to avoid losing wickets in quick successions. Our bowlers are also failing to give their traditional display, especially in the last overs of the innings. We are working on these problems,” Afridi said.

‘I will quit the game if Salman, Asif return to Pakistan cricket’

He said he had not given any warning to players to perform and added that he had requested the selectors not to make changes in the T20 side until after the World Cup. “We have been experimenting with different players for long but now we have to finalize our team and stick to it. We have the best team and we are hopeful of playing the semi-final and final of the World Cup,” he said confidently. Commenting on the return of banned pacer Mohammad Amir to the ranks, Afridi said, “ No doubt Amir is a talented bowler and he has performed well for Pakistan in the past. But even if Amir fails to get a visa for New Zealand, I am confident that we have a balanced side for the tour.”

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