KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has praised the current team for winning the ICC Champions Trophy but also criticised the domestic structure and quality of cricket being played in the country.
While speaking at the MoU-signing ceremony between ICMAP and Shahid Afridi Foundation at the former’s premises, Afridi said: “No one had any expectations that this team would even reach the semi-finals but the way they played and went all the way deserves appreciation. This is the beauty of ICC tournaments that no one can expect who will be in the finals. Any team can spring surprises.”
He further said that the team defeated top teams but there is still a lot of work to be done at the domestic level.
“I have been and will keep on saying that the structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan should be modified and the quality of pitches, balls and standard of umpiring should be improved,” he said. “We cannot relax after winning the trophy. We have to work a lot on the domestic structure to keep the national team consistent.”
Praising the efforts of Fakhar Zaman, the former all-rounder said that in modern cricket every team needs an attacking opener. “There is a need of attacking openers who can score quick runs for the team and Fakhar fits the bill,” he said.
Talking about the seniors’ place and role in the side, the 37-year-old Afridi added: “If they are able to find cricketers of the seniors’ calibre then they can be replaced but I still don’t see any players who are at par with Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq. Once they can find players of that calibre, then I think there are many seniors who will vacate their positions for youngsters.”
He also disclosed that he is planning to establish a multi-purpose academy in Karachi. “I have been in talks with city mayor Waseem Akhtar and he is providing me the land for an academy, which besides cricket, will also give English,courses and financial assistance to best young cricketers,” he said.
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