A drawn Test series would be as big as victory: Shahid Afridi

Pakistan will start their Test campaign on Wednesday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

“English conditions are difficult when it comes to Test matches. I have high hopes from our team and I think even if they can draw the series, it would be equal to winning,” Afridi told Cricket Pakistan.com.pk.

He noted that head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq, batting coach, Younis Khan, bowling coach, Waqar Younis and spin coach, Mushtaq Ahmed had loads of experience of playing in England.

“I think the presence of this management is a big plus for our team and I am confident that these former stalwarts will be able to guide the players well session to session in the Tests,” he added.

Afridi also said he was looking forward to some top performances from Babar Azam in the series. “He is a wonderful talent and I don’t think he has taken the pressure of being made captain. His game has improved and he loves challenges.

“He is going to be the backbone of the Pakistan batting and he is a very focussed player. In the coming days he should single handedly win matches for Pakistan,” he said.

The former skipper who took early retirement from Test cricket in 2010 while captaining the side in England and after playing just 27 matches, however, represented the country in 398 ODIs and 99 T20 Internationals before he retired from international cricket in 2016.

Afridi expressed satisfaction at the pace bowling resources available in Pakistan cricket and said the country had always produced some top class pace bowlers.

“I see a great future ahead of Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi and we also have the experienced trio of Wahab Riaz, Muhammad Abbas, Muhammad Amir and Sohail Khan who can teach these youngsters a lot in England,” he said.

Afridi said England batsmen will not find it easy going against the Pakistani pacers like Naseem, Shaheen or Abbas and the touring side had the clear edge in the spin bowling department due to the experienced Yasir Shah.

He also made it clear that once a player graduates to the national team it is not a place for him to learn and improve. “Once you are selected for Pakistan colours you are supposed to perform and not learn at this level. I don’t agree with this concept. If you pick a player for test matches he should be able to perform.”

Afridi also clarified that although his statements about Kashmir or other political issues upset the Indian people but as a God fearing Muslim it was his duty to speak out against injustices anywhere in the world.

“Every religion teaches us about humanity and being good human beings. It is not about any religion or country for me I have always spoken up when there has been injustice.

He also said his skirmishes with Gautam Gambhir occurred on the field when they played against each other but they should remain there. “But such things shouldn’t influence your daily life and outside the field we should all be good friends,” he concluded.

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