World Cup an opportunity for players to become superstars: Afridi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former captain and flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi has said that the World Cup 2019 is the best opportunity for youngsters to become superstars, any player can become a hero by doing well in the tournament.

Speaking to media here, Afridi said that all he wants from team Pakistan is to give their 100% on the field and forget about the results.

“Everyone wants Pakistan to do well, we will be playing against different teams in the World Cup, so we will have our chances. After inclusion of experienced Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Aamir and return of Shadab Khan, there’s no excuse left in bowling department,” he said.

“I just want boys to give their maximum. Winning or losing is different, but you should give your 100% on the field,” the former captain added.

Talking about Pakistan’s much anticipated World Cup match against India, Afridi advised his former teammates not to take much pressure of the game and express themselves freely.

“Take India’s game as just another game, play aggressively and enjoy your game. You shouldn’t go on back foot. This match provides you an opportunity to perform well and become hero. So, I would tell boys, go and express yourself without any fear,” he said.

The former skipper also criticised former Indian cricketer and now a politician Gautam Gambhir for urging Indian team to boycott World Cup match against Pakistan.

Terming him an insane person, Afridi said whatever Gautam has been saying, doesn’t suit any educated person.

“Gautam doesn’t sound like a sane person. Educated people don’t promote hatred like this. It’s bizarre to bring politics in World Cup games,” he said.

Afridi, who has his international career spanned over two decades, said that 2011 and 1999 world cup were two of his most memorable tournaments and he believe that Pakistan had the chance to win both the events.

“In 2011, we were rebuilding after match fixing scandal, we played brilliantly throughout the tournament and we were near to win, as a captain I wanted to win the cup but it couldn’t happen. In 1999, we played well in entire tournament but one bad decision took the cup away from us,” he said.

Replying to a question, Afridi said that Sarfaraz must come up in the batting order as his batting style suits 4th position.

“Sarfaraz must bat at top order, he’s not pinch hitter that’s why he cannot be suited at 6th, he must come up in the order and play captain’s knock. He must try to stay on wicket maximum,” he said.

“I hope all dreams of Wahab Riaz come true. I hope he will do well for the team.”

The former captain also suggested that Junaid Khan should have controlled his emotions after being dropped from the team.

“Junaid’s reaction wasn’t good. It would have been better if he had remained silent,” the former flamboyant all-rounder said.

“I can understand his frustration but he must know that this is not the end. He has a long career on his way.”