Updated May 26th, 2024 at 14:51 IST

Afridi concerned about Pakistan's middle-over strike rate but backs them to reach T20 WC final

Former captain Shahid Afridi is confident Pakistan will once again reach the final of the T20 World Cup but expressed apprehension regarding the batters' sluggish strike rate in the middle overs.

Shahid Afridi - 21 wickets in 2011 | Image:AP
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 Former captain Shahid Afridi is confident Pakistan will once again reach the final of the T20 World Cup but expressed apprehension regarding the batters' sluggish strike rate in the middle overs.

The former all-rounder added that Pakistan's pace attack comprising Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Abbas Afridi and Mohammad Amir is the best in the world.

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"The thing that bothers me is the strike rate of our batters, especially in between the seven to thirteen over phase," Afridi, who is a tournament ambassador for this edition of the T20 World Cup, told the ICC.

"I hope that the strike rate improves in that phase. In terms of runs per over, eight or nine runs per over are needed but still Pakistan are my favourite," he added.

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The 47-year-old, who was part of Pakistan's title-wining team in 2009, feels the pacers will have a huge responsibility to deliver.

"I feel Pakistan should make the final. The reason is that the conditions (in West Indies and USA) suit our team." "I think in any cricket team in the world, nobody has such a strong bowling line-up. All our four fast bowlers have a lot of skill and even the bowlers sitting on the bench like Abbas (Afridi)...has a lot of skill with a good slower ball. It's an incredible attack.

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"If the players with such good skills enter this World Cup against world-class batters they will perform well. All the names will also have a huge responsibility over them." Pakistan had finished runner-up in the last edition of the marquee event, losing the summit clash by five wickets to England.

"If we look at the spinners in our team, they are outstanding. They might not be in form but I know they will return in form. In batting, we have great strength," he added.

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He backed skipper Babar Azam to have a good tournament.

"All players in the team are important. But if you look at the performances in the recent past, Babar, (Mohammad) Rizwan, Fakhar (Zaman), Shaheen, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shadab (Khan) -- all of them play an important role and will be key at the World Cup.

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"But if I had to pick one, I would pick the captain Babar Azam, because he is the leader. I want him to perform well, make timely decisions which will take the team to victory." Pakistan are placed in Group A with India, Ireland, Canada and co-hosts USA.

They play their first game against USA on June 6 in Dallas. 

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Published May 26th, 2024 at 14:51 IST