ISLAMABAD: Former Twenty Skipper Shahid Afridi believes Pakistan has the ability to develop into one of the top three teams by the time the 2019 World Cup to be played in England.
Pakistan thumped defending champions India by 180 runs to clinch their maiden International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy title on Sunday. “This squad is built around exciting young talent and has an astute and passionate leader in Sarfraz,” wrote Afridi in a column for the ICC.
Afridi said that the teams that might have taken Pakistan lightly in Champions Trophy would never dare to repeat such a mistake again and whatever the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup may be like, Pakistan will be a serious contender for the trophy,” he said.
He said that Champions Trophy has been a memorable event and Pakistani fans will remember it for a very long time indeed. “The fans, especially youngsters, who saw the team dethrone India, will be inspired to replicate the performances of their heroes in the years to come,” Afridi said.
The flamboyant cricketer, nicknamed Boom Boom further insisted that just like the 1992 World Cup win gave Pakistan a new generation of match winners, this Champions Trophy victory will also put the country’s cricket back on track.
“The 1992 World Cup win gave us a new generation of match winners and this win ranks very close to that, I am confident that Pakistan cricket is back on track and we will see this team reach some incredible highs in the years to come, especially if the team continues to play with the kind of passion and commitment displayed in this tournament,” Afridi said.
He said this is one victory that Pakistan fans will remember for long. “The turnaround has left the world bewildered and has brought a wave of ecstasy and unbridled joy for Pakistanis all around the world.”
“As soon as the game ended, celebrations mirroring the 1992 World Cup and 2009 World T20 wins began across the country,” he added. “Sarfraz Ahmed-led side deserves to celebrate well beyond the Eid festival next week as the players richly deserve their victory,” he said.