Pak team leave for West Indies for T20 WC

LAHORE: Led by all-rounder Shahid Afridi, a 15-member Pakistan squad left for the West Indies via Dubai and London here on Saturday (today).

Captain Afridi and Coach Waqar said the team is under pressure to take its performance level up; however, the team is fully capable to perform well.

Team of 13 players along with management arrived at National Cricket Academy, Lahore, from where, they were taken to Allama Airport under strict security.

“My team and I are geared up to, tactically and technically, live up to the expectations of the nation for accomplishing the task of winning in the West Indies,” Afridi said in an interview prior to departure to Caribbean.

“Without the prayers of the nation and supporters across the world, the Pakistan cricket team cannot achieve anything. Besides playing patriotically for Pakistan we need support of countrymen and the media. My appeal to the national media is to go for healthy criticism while keeping Pakistan’s interest above everything,” Afridi said.

Afridi denied being under any pressure to perform, and stressed that players would have to lift their fielding standards if they have to repeat last year’s success.

“Fielding is crucial area in this fastest version of the game, and a lot of hard work was done to raise the standard. We are ready give our best and rest with Allah,” he said.

Afridi said his team has good mix of youth and experience that can create trouble for even the world’s best teams.

The mega event will be played in the Caribbean Islands from April 30 to May 16. According to the planned trip, the Pakistan squad will first reach Dubai and from there to St Lucia via London.

Defending champions Pakistan feature a strong line-up that includes the experience of Afridi, Misbahul Haq, Mohammad Asif and Abdul Razzaq along with the burgeoning talents of Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Aamer. Pakistan open their title defence against Bangladesh in St Lucia on May 1 and then take on world champions Australia the following day at the same venue. The final will take place in Kensington Oval, Barbados.

Pakistan squad:
Shahid Afridi (captain), Salman Butt, Mohammad Hafeez, Khalid Latif, Misbahul Haq, Fawad Alam, Umar Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Abdul Rehman, Hammad Azam, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal. Officials: Waqar Younis (coach), Ijaz Ahmed (assistant coach), Yawar Saeed (manager), Shafqat Rana (associate manager).