Pakistan lost both the Test and one-day series to England, and three of their players – former captain Salman Butt and fast-bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – were suspended by the ICC following their alleged involvement in ‘spot-fixing’ during the last Test at Lord’s.
They now head out to UAE to meet South Africa for two charity Twenty20 games before a five-match ODI series which starts in November. A two-match Test series follows before the team sets off for New Zealand. Afridi feels his side has the talent to win the limited-overs series and hopes the upcoming World Cup can galvanize a side that has been beset by off-field troubles.
“It’s all about confidence. We can improve our World Cup chances by boosting our confidence and should do that by winning matches against South Africa and later against New Zealand,” he said. “We have to forget what happened during the tour of England. What the team desperately needs is some good results and I’m sure that if we play to our potential we can do that against South Africa.”
Shorn of the services of the suspended players, Afridi refused to condemn the trio and insisted that his spinners could prove to be Pakistan’s biggest weapon. “We are going to miss the three because they are our key players,” he said.
“But we can’t just sit back and cry over it. We have to focus on the upcoming assignments and thankfully, we still have several match-winners in our side. Spinners will certainly be playing the major role in UAE, the wickets there should give them a lot of assistance.”