Cricket squad returns, Afridi confident


LAHORE – The Pakistan cricket squad returned Monday night from Auckland, New Zealand after winning the Test as well as ODI series against the hosts. Pakistan won the 2-test match series 1-0 and later beat New Zealand 3-2 in the ODI series, with one match abandoned due to rains. This was Pakistan’s first ODI series win over the hosts in 18 years.
Pakistan however, lost the the three-match Twenty20 series 2-1. Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has said that every player of his side played his part in the win and it was entirely a team effort that provided them the wins against New Zealand, which is a good sign ahead of the major event. “The win has given the team confidence ahead of the forthcoming World Cup,” he said.
“Winning while depending on a couple of players is not possible and when the whole team delivers, only then is win possible,” said Afridi on arrival at the airport at Karachi. “We were doing well in patches in recent matches but were not able to win a series’, but this time we managed to do that with proper combined performances. And don’t forget New Zealand has been a very difficult side to beat at home in the past,” he added.
Afridi said he was happy with the World Cup combination given to him and was confident of lifting the trophy. “We just need to continue doing our basics right and everyone pitching in throughout the competition. And with the nation praying for us we are now among the favourites this World Cup,” he said.
The Pakistan skipper also made it clear that while the team could not ignore the recent events off the field, they are trying to focus just on cricket. “The team has become mentally tougher and is hungry for success.” The Pakistan squad is due to leave for Bangladesh on the night of February 10 and will attend a reception, hosted in their honour by the Prime Minister in Islamabad a day before.