Karachi [Pakistan]: Former skipper Shahid Afridi has backed Pakistan to overcome the challenge against Australia and script history by clinching the first-ever Test series victory down under.
Afridi’s comments come despite Pakistan being 0-1 down in the three-match series following their heart-wrenching defeat by 39 runs in the opening match at the Gabba.
Although the visiting side lost the opening Test, they received a flurry of admiration for their dogged fourth innings chase.
Chasing a world-record target of 490 runs to win, Pakistan’s ninth-wicket partnership between `Man of the match` Asad Shafiq (137) and Yasir Shah (33) raised hopes in the Misbah-ul-Haq-led camp which were soon shattered as the centurion fell prey to a brilliant bouncer by Mitchell Starc.
Hailing Pakistan’s spirited fightback in the opening Test, Afridi believes his side now holds a great chance of winning the series as the Brisbane performance would have lifted their confidence.
“We have a great chance of finally winning a series in Australia. Pakistan showed great fight in the first Test, particularly Shafiq who scored an outstanding century. The Brisbane performance will definitely lift spirits,” the Express Tribune quoted Afridi as saying.
The star all-rounder, who is yet to announce retirement from T20 cricket, also stressed that the tracks in Melbourne and Sydney suit the team and, therefore, both Pakistan bowlers as well as batsmen would benefit from the conditions.
“The tracks in Melbourne and Sydney suit the team. Both Pakistan’s batsmen and bowlers will get help from the conditions and I am backing the team to win both the matches,” he said.
Afridi also backed fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who is currently recovering from a knee and thigh injury which he sustained in the first match, to play a match-winning role in the ongoing series.
Amir has been receiving criticism for failing to repeat past performances since his return to the international cricket after a five-year ban for spot-fixing in January this year.
“I backed Amir’s selection [as a captain] for the World T20 since I felt he could be an asset for us. I have supported Amir because he showed remorse for his actions. I think he’s improving and did a fine job both with bat and ball in Brisbane. He can hopefully
make an even bigger and match-winning contribution in the last two Tests,” Afridi said.
Pakistan will now meet Australia in Melbourne in the famed Boxing Day Test before moving to Sydney for the third and the final Test beginning January 3. (ANI)