Asia Cup: Step up or lose World T20 spot, Afridi warns players
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi on Thursday called upon his players to improve their performances or risk losing their World Twenty20 spot.
Pakistan named their 15-man World T20 squad last week but Afridi said 'last minute' changes could yet be made based on the performances of players in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Asia Cup T20, which commences February 29.
“I hope we don’t need to make changes in the squad and it [the same team] plays in both events but if any player fails to click in the Asia Cup then changes can be made in the side for the World T20,” Afridi said in an interview with Cricbuzz.
International Cricket Council (ICC) set February 8 as the initial deadline to submit the World T20 squads, while Pakistan was granted a two-day extension on Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) request.
According to an ICC official, member nations can tinker with their team combinations until March 8.
Afridi said players who deliver standout performances in the ongoing PSL will be considered for a place in the World T20 squad.
“If there are players who impress everyone in the Pakistan Super League, they can be considered for the World T20,” he said.
Mohammad Nawaz and Rumman Raees are two players who have already benefited from their PSL performances, earning spots in the Asia Cup and World T20 squads.
But Afridi expressed disappointment over the efforts of several seasoned campaigners who failed consistently.
“The team management, selectors and I gave full confidence and support to every player. The same response was not forthcoming from players,” he said.
Afridi hoped the PSL would serve as a solid platform for emerging players and eventually supply talent to the national team.
“Back home in domestic cricket no one comes to watch matches and there is no real pressure on the players to do well. To me the PSL can serve as the platform where players can develop their confidence and learn to play under pressure,” he added.