Players need to back each other for World Cup glory, says Afridi

afridiKARACHI: All-rounder Shahid Afridi on Wednesday said Pakistan players needed to back each other if they were to win the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

Afridi, named Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain on Tuesday, said that he was 12 when Pakistan were last crowned world champions in 1992.

“I can vividly remember that it was the [holy] month of Ramazan and the entire nation was behind the team. People were praying for Pakistan’s success every time they offered their prayers,” Afridi commented as the ICC World Cup trophy made its maiden appearance in Karachi at a graceful ceremony at the National Stadium during its trophy tour on Wednesday.

“The forthcoming [World Cup] tournament could be my last in the 50-over format. We need to back each other because it is not the trophy that matters. We want to make people happy once again after so many disappointments.”

A spectacular display of fireworks took place after the trophy was unveiled following its arrival from Lahore where it had reached on Tuesday after visits to Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Waseem Haider, a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning Pakistan squad led by Imran Khan, saying that self-belief was the code word of that side.

All-rounder Wasim, current head coach of Multan region who played in three matches of the global competition 22 years ago, said that if Pakistan play with the same spirit they would be among the serious contenders for the title.

“Although the game has changed a lot since the time we used to play I still think that a team which thrives on general camaraderie has better chances of winning. The class of 92 lacked in some areas and yet we still won in tough conditions of Australia and New Zealand,” Wasim recalled.

“Imran was an inspiring captain who was not willing to give up after we had struggled in the early matches. There was a firm belief within the team that we could lift the title. And we did.

“I wish Misbah-ul-Haq and his team all the best. If they display the same resilience they can reclaim the World Cup after such a long time.”

Intikhab Alam, who was the manager of the 1992 Pakistan team and now PCB’s director domestic cricket, said the never-say-die attitude contributed to Pakistan’s grand victory.

“We never let ourselves down even after we mustered three points after five matches. I can recall that every time we got together for team meetings the one I always emphasised was ‘Never Give Up’. This was my philosophy of achieving success in life,” the former Pakistan skipper observed.

The unveiling ceremony of the trophy was also attended by Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, International Cricket Council’s head of communications and media Samiul Hasan, PCB director marketing Badar Rafaie, general manager media Agha Akbar and manager of National Stadium Arshad Khan.

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