KARACHI: Pakistan's fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi is hopeful of continuity and consistency in the cricket team's performance 2022 after a remarkable show in 2021.
In an interview with Geo News, Afridi said that each member of the Pakistan team enters the ground with the mindset of making Pakistan a number one side, and on the field, every member backs each other.
The 21-year-old said that this change in attitude didn’t come overnight.
"What you saw in 2021 was a result of the journey that started during the England tour in 2020. All of us had aimed for one thing, and that’s to make Pakistan number one side. Our goals were mutual, and we worked hard towards our goal and what you saw in 2021 was a result of that hard work that we had been doing," Afridi said.
"The way Babar Azam is leading from the front and taking the team forward, and everyone is standing behind him," the fast bowler said.
Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy
Shaheen Shah Afridi was declared ICC’s player of the year 2021 and won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for that after brilliant performance throughout the year across all formats.
He expressed his delight on receiving the award but said that he would’ve been equally happier if Rizwan had got that award.
"These awards reflect our performances in the year 2021. It was great to see Babar winning ODI and Rizwan getting the T201 award. I am happy for my award, and I would’ve been equally happy if Rizwan would've got that award too because his performance in the year was also outstanding," Shaheen said.
When asked about his memorable performances in 2021, Shaheen mentioned his performance in the Test series against the West Indies, where he took 18 wickets, and the T20 World Cup match against India as his memorable performances.
Shaheen added that he enters the stadium every time with pride and commitment to give his all regardless of the opponent he faces.
"I don't think about the weaker or stronger opponent. I just want to give my best in every game so that at the end of the day, I don't have any regrets in my heart," he mentioned.
Pakistan vs India — T20 World Cup 2021
Talking about the T20 World Cup match against India, Shaheen said it was the first World Cup match against India for most of the players, and everyone was highly confident ahead of the game.
"We were very confident about the game, and we could feel from our body language even during training ahead of the game that we'll take it home. We played according to plan and thankfully won the game," he recalled.
Australia's tour of Pakistan
Shaheen said that he’s hopeful that the Pakistan team will continue with the same momentum in 2022 and do well in the series against Australia.
"Australians are coming after a long time, and the series is very important for us. We have prepared our minds on how to go on against them. We'll surely enjoy playing against a strong opponent at home and produce good results," he aimed.
"Not only against Australia, but also in other events to come in the year, we'll try to play with the same momentum," Shaheen hoped.
Pakistan Super League 2022
The pacer was named Lahore Qalandars’ captain ahead of the seventh edition of the PSL, and under his leadership, Lahore has, so far, played two games.
Shaheen says he’s enjoying the captaincy and trying to bring better results for Lahore Qalandars.
"We played very good cricket in both the games so far, but, unfortunately, the result didn’t come in our favour in the first game, but it was a good game," he said.
"We did learn our lessons in the first two games and identified the areas where we need to bring improvements. We will apply what we learned in our two games and play better cricket than previous games in matches to come," the Qalandars' captain said.
Shaheen said that his advice to team members is to play like champions and give 100% on the field.
He also hailed the flamboyant opening batter, Fakhar Zaman.
"Fakhar is doing what’s required by the team from him. We need someone to accelerate in the start, and Fakhar is doing that job. He has always done well for Lahore Qalandars and improving day by day, which is a very good sign for us," Shaheen said.
"Our fans have always supported us in our good and hard times. I am thankful to them and will try to give our best and produce results, which they expect from us this time," he concluded.