KARACHI: Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi on Monday urged his team to raise their game in upcoming international competitions following their 2-1 Twenty20 defeat in New Zealand last week.
Pakistan won the first match by 16 runs before going down tamely by 10 wickets and 95 runs respectively in the next two games – their worst Twenty20 defeats in terms of wickets and runs.
Afridi did not mince his words in warning his players they have a tough task to compete in the Asia Cup (Feb 24-March 6) in Bangladesh, followed by the World Twenty20 (March 11-April 3) in India.
“We failed to fulfil what was expected of us in the Twenty20 series in New Zealand,” Afridi told AFP. “We did win the first game but in the last two we didn’t show the right kind of fighting spirit.”
Afridi said his team was running out of time before the major events. “If we don’t learn from our mistakes and lift our performances then we will struggle in future events,” said Afridi, singling out misfiring batsmen Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad for their ordinary show.
“Umar and Shehzad have got enough chances which not many players get for Pakistan at the highest level, so they have to prove their worth before time runs out for them,” said Afridi, who was also critical of his own performance.
“Captain’s performance matters and I know my scoring runs and taking wickets is the key which I also need to improve on in the next two tournaments,” said Afridi who will retire from international cricket after the World Twenty20 in India.
The seasoned all-rounder urged the cricket authorities to reform the domestic structure of the game to make it more competitive. “We have to improve our system, especially we have to revive school cricket from where we can get talented players who should be groomed at the NCA and that is very necessary for our future,” he said.