Pakistan's Afridi accepts a captain's challenge

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Shahid Afridi said he hoped his new attitude to batting and bowling would help Pakistan to defend its World Twenty20 title and win the World Cup in 2011.

Updated: November 07, 2009 11:18 IST
  • Total Shares

Abu Dhabi:

All-rounder Shahid Afridi, buoyed by a run of good form, said on Saturday he hoped his new attitude to batting and bowling would help Pakistan to defend its World Twenty20 title and win the World Cup in 2011.

"I am becoming more and more responsible with my batting," Afridi said.

"I want to help my team win the World Twenty20 again next year and then the bigger prize of the World Cup in two years' time."

The 29-year-old hit a punishing 51-ball 70 -- his first one-day half-century in 33 matches -- and took two for 46 to help Pakistan beat New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday in the first match of their current one-day series.

Often criticised for not using his explosive potential, Afridi is fast disproving that notion by taking a more responsible approach to his batting.

He hit back-to-back half-centuries in the semi-final and final of the World Twenty20 held in England in June, when Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the final.

He was then rewarded with the captaincy of Pakistan's Twenty20 side after Younus Khan decided to quit the shortest form of the game.

To keep Pakistan winning in the Twenty20 and one-day matches, Afridi said he had decided to forgo five-day cricket.

"I am not playing Test cricket simply because I want to be more focused on one-day and Twenty20 cricket," he said.

He said he had already sets his sights on defending the World Twenty20 title in the West Indies in April.

"Being the captain I have to plan for the World Twenty20 because I want to win it once again -- for my team, for my country and for my people, who are by our wins," Afridi said.

He said the loss of international cricket matches in Pakistan made it imperative "that we keep winning and motivate the youth to take up the game, to keep the interest alive in our country."

Pakistan's lost its right to host international teams after the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore in March.

Seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach were injured, besides eight people killed.

The attack also forced the International Cricket Council to strip Pakistan of its share of 2011 World Cup matches, as teams refused to tour the country over security fears.

"If we win then the youth will continue to follow us and that's a great responsibility on us players," said Afridi, who will lead Pakistan in two Twenty20 matches against New Zealand in Dubai on November 12 and 13.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori praised Afridi as one of cricket's most exciting players.

"He is explosive in batting and has taken spin bowling to another level," Vettori said.

For the latest Cricket news , Score, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

Leave a comment