Former skipper Shahid Afridi on Wednesday applauded the Pakistan One Day International (ODI) team on its ICC Champions Trophy win and called for greater improvements in the country's domestic cricket structure.
Commenting on Pakistan's victory, Afridi said: “When Pakistan entered the tournament, no one had any expectations that the team would even reach the semifinals, but the way they have played and won the trophy deserves appreciation.”
“This is the beauty of ICC tournaments; that no one can expect who will be in the finals. Any team can come up as a surprise,” he added.
Praising the efforts of Fakhar Zaman, the former skipper said that in modern cricket every team needs an attacking batting side.
“Like every team needs an attacking bowling, similarly there is a need for an attacking opening which can score runs for the team, for which we also need a good middle-order that can end the innings with some attacking.”
Afridi said that although the green shirts defeated the world's top teams, domestic cricket still needs some work.
“I have been and will keep on saying that the structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan should be modified, the quality of pitches and balls should be increased and that the standard of umpires should be improved,” the former cricketer said.
“We cannot stop here after winning the trophy, we have to work a lot on the domestic structure to keep consistency in this performance of the team,” he said.
Talking about the role of senior players in the team, Afridi said, “If they are able to find cricketers of their calibre then they can replace them. I have yet to see a player who plays at the calibre of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.”
He also disclosed that he will be establishing an academy in Karachi which will provide facilities other than those required for cricket.
“I have been in talks with city mayor Waseem Akhtar and he is providing land for the academy, which will also give English and computer courses to top performing young cricketers who will be staying at the academy and we will also provide financial support to them,” he said.
Afridi was speaking at a ceremony for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) and the Shahid Afridi Foundation at ICMAP in Karachi.