Fellow player Mushtaq Mohammad has put forward faith in Shahid Afridi as they are preparing to defend their title at the World Twenty20 championships. Mohammad said the all-rounder is the right man to lead the team. Afridi has been a key player in shaping the future of the Pakistani Cricket team and the legendary player has impressed his selectors and fans with his aggressive batting and spin bowling.
Pakistan was crowned the champion at the World Twenty20 championship last year at England. “Pakistan are a team in the making at the moment and Shahid Afridi is quite a force in the shorter form of cricket,” said Mohammad on Monday, 12th April, 2010 at the Lords. He further added about Afridi and his performance last year, “He won us the (Twenty20) World Cup here last summer. He is a very positive cricketer and we need somebody to lead Pakistan from the front.” Currently, Afridi has been named the captain to lead his team to the World Twenty20 to be held in West Indies which is all set to start later in April, 2010.
This year a majority of the Pakistani players have been either fined and-or banned from matches because of their latest stint at Australia ball tempering case. Pakistan will enter this year’s World Twenty20 championship without star players and former captains, Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan. Other players that will not be able to play in West Indies include Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved who have been banned from playing by the PCB (Pakistani Cricket Board). Afridi himself is facing a two match ban and a fine for three million rupees which is almost 35,000 dollars for ball-tempering. He appealed for the match ban at the Pakistan court on Tuesday, 13th April, 2010. Afridi has appealed against the PCB saying that it was unfair of the board to punish him twice for the same fault.
Mustaq said about the banned players, “Pakistan have lost a lot of their key players. But I hope they will come round and get the senior players to strengthen the team.” Pakistan is holding the Pakistan-Australia series at neutral grounds in England in July because many countries have expressed concern in playing in Pakistan stating security reasons. However, Mustaq is still hoping that international cricket returns to his country. “Not in the near future, the political and security situation has to improve for us to convince foreign teams to come and play cricket in Pakistan. It will take a little while. Pakistan having to play a home series away from home is never a very healthy sign for Pakistan cricket. Cricket lovers in Pakistan at the moment are deprived of watching their team. It’s very sad.”
He further added that MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) backing up the neutral series in England has been a welcoming boost. “At a time like this, when Pakistani cricket is going through turbulence, you need your friends to help you out and MCC have done just that,” he added. Pakistan is playing two matches at the Lords this year. After the series against Australia in July, the team will return to the Lords for the fourth and final test in August against England.