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14 November 201014:38

Afridi hopeful of CWC turnaround

The Pakistani cricketer believes that the team could still be one of the top contenders in CWC

Afridi hopeful of CWC turnaround - Cricket News

Shahid Afridi of Pakistan.

Pakistan's ODI captain Shahid Afridi has said that the national team is capable of delivering in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 despite the spate of controversies and problems surrounding it since last year.

Afridi told a press conference at his residence in Karachi that he had not given up hope that Pakistan could be one of the top contenders in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 despite the fact that it had not won an ODI series since the middle of 2008.

"I back my players and I back this team to come good. We have some very talented players but yes these players have to seize the opportunity that is given to them. The captain and coach can only give them that much confidence the rest is up to them," he said.

Afridi, who recently captained Pakistan against South Africa in the UAE, said it was a fact that Pakistan cricket had been badly rattled by the spate of problems it has faced since last year.

"Obviously there is pressure on the players and these new things that keep cropping up at crucial times also affect the players."

He called on the media and former players to back the team in the run-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 that will be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"I know everyone wants us to do well whether it is the Cricket Board (PCB) or fans but the team needs support," Afridi said.

Pakistan has one full series with New Zealand before the mega-event and Afridi said he was completely focusing on it.

"I had got an offer to play for South Australia in their Big Bash T20 event before the New Zealand tour but I declined because I am training hard and I want to be ready for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," he said.

The dashing all-rounder said Pakistan had its best chance of going all the way in this ICC Cricket World Cup as it was being held in familiar conditions.

"The conditions in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are similar so we should do well."

The seasoned campaigner admitted that another problem facing the team was its inability to finish off matches.

"I don't know the reason but it is a fact that we have been playing well in recent times. We were in strong positions in Australia, England and now against South Africa but for some reason we are letting the opportunities slip by. We are not displaying good finish abilities which is an area of concern for us," Afridi said.