Shahid Afridi reveals key for Pakistan success at T20 World Cup

Pakistan great Shahid Afridi has declared his former side's pace attack as the best in the world and has high expectations on what they can deliver at next month's ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

The 2009 T20 World Cup champions have included five quality fast bowlers in their 15-player squad for the ninth edition of the tournament, with left-armer Shaheen Afridi to spearhead a pace attack alongside Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Abbas Afridi and Mohammad Amir.

It's that depth in the fast-bowling ranks that has Shahid Afridi excited about Pakistan's prospects at this year's T20 World Cup which will be co-hosted by the USA and West Indies and has the former star all-rounder excited by what lies ahead.

Shahid Afridi pins his hopes on Pakistan at the T20 World Cup

Shahid Afridi pins his hopes on Pakistan at the T20 World Cup

"I think in any cricket team in the world, nobody has such a strong bowling line-up," Afridi boldly declared.

"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.

“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 finished as runners up at the most recent edition of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 and Afridi believes the team can at least match that effort this time around.

"I feel Pakistan should make the final," he said.

"The reason is that the conditions (in West Indies and USA) suit our team.

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“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. If we talk about fast bowling, it’s an incredible attack. In batting, we have great strength.

"The thing that bothers me is the strike rate of our batters, especially in between the seven to thirteen over phase. 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."

And while Afridi was reluctant to single out one player that needed to have a good tournament for Pakistan to win a second T20 World Cup title, the former star all-rounder knows Babar Azam must lead from the front in his role as captain.

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

"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."

NewsMen's NewsICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024