We can only defend world title by staying united: Afridi

April 30th, 2010 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, April 30 (IANS) Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has warned that the only way his team can defend the World Twenty20 title in the Caribbean is by staying united.

“We are all aware that there is no other way to win a world title other than by staying united,” Afridi told infoT20.com in an interview Friday ahead of their World Twenty20 opener against Bangladesh in St. Lucia Saturday.

“And I must say that there is unity in my team. There is a clear bonding among the team members and I’m confident that they will gel well in the West Indies,” he added.

Afridi, 30, said he is ready to lead his team from the front.

“For me, there is no other way but to lead from the front both as captain and the team’s senior most player.”

“I’ve always played my cricket with passion and aggression and am looking forward to bringing out the best in me during the Twenty20 World Cup because it’s perhaps the most important challenge of my career,” stressed Afridi, regarded as the most destructive allrounder in the slam-bang version of the game.

Afridi’s men have been questioned over their lack of unity and character in recent times and many also fear that they may not be in the right frame of mind to successfully defend the title in the Caribbean.

His countrymen back home might be expecting Pakistan to retain the world title but Afridi is making no such promises.

“Our target is to win the World Cup but it’s cricket and there are no guarantees. What I can say for sure is that all of us are going to give our best for Pakistan and hopefully send good news back home from the West Indies.”

Afridi believes he is at the helm of a balanced team with enough firepower to floor any kind of opposition.

“We have some really good bowlers. In Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamir, Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Sami, we have some impressive pacers. Then we have a good spin attack with Saeed Ajmal, myself, Abdul Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez.

“There was this major blow for us when Umar Gul was ruled out of the event but our bowling arsenal is still a pretty strong one.”

Afridi is hoping that experienced batsmen like Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal will take responsibility in the absence of seasoned players like Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik - who formed the backbone of the team’s middle-order in the second edition in England last summer.

“I must say that the main responsibility will be on the senior players. They are the ones who will have to give their best and inspire the young members of our team.”

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