Bangladesh v Pakistan, Only T20I, Mirpur April 23, 2015

Afridi banks on experienced combination

Shahid Afridi wants Pakistan's preparations for next year's World T20 to start in earnest © AFP

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's T20 captain, said the addition of experienced players in their line-up has made the Twenty20 side slightly more formidable than the current ODI side. He also admitted that his own performance in the one-off game against Bangladesh on Friday will be crucial.

Pakistan are the most successful international T20 side, with 50 wins in 85 matches and their players also dominate T20 records. The top three wicket-takers in T20Is are Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul and Afridi, and, of the three of the Pakistan batsmen to score more than 1000 runs in the format, two - Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez - are in the current squad

"At the moment, I am saying yes, the T20 team is better than the ODI side," Afridi said. "Tomorrow will be a good game. I am not saying we will win one-sided. It will be a good game. T20 is all about opportunities, if you get one, don't miss it.

"It is a new format now. Myself, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez are all back. It was good to see Hafeez bowling again. We have a very good combination in T20. I am very positive and confident that we will do well. I have to perform very well because my performance has always helped Pakistan. Everyone doesn't need to give a lot of performance but if 11 players can give enough performances, it will help us win."

Afridi, who arrived in Dhaka with the T20 specialists last Monday, said it was hard to prepare for tours that had only one or two T20 games but said the time was right for Pakistan to start preparing for next year's World T20.

"It is hard, to be honest. You have just one match in the tour, you have to get the boys together," he said. "But since cricket has become so professional, players can now adjust very quickly between formats. We are playing T20s against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

"The World T20 is also coming up, so we have to build a unit. Hopefully we can play a similar line-up in the World Cup and not make last-minute changes. As a captain, I will try to prepare a new captain for the future too."

Afridi was happy with the discipline within the team but echoed the opinions of ODI captain Azhar Ali and bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed by stating that the current group of youngsters need more time to adjust to international cricket.

"The dressing room atmosphere is very positive. No doubt Bangladesh are playing very well at the moment. With our team, obviously if you don't have three-four seniors and you are going with new talent - new guys with a new captain - it takes time to have a rebuilding process. I am hopeful that in a few months they will do well as a unit.

"Bangladesh have been using the same unit for a long time. There are many new players in this team so of course there is disappointment with the series loss, but your expectation has to be adjusted according to the current team," he said. "This is the not the era of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Inzamam-ul-Haq. In 6-8 months, the more cricket they will play, the better they will become."

Afridi said that despite their 7-0 win record against Bangladesh in T20s, they expect a hard game on Friday: "You don't think about the past. If you look at it at the moment, the combination with which Bangladesh are playing, they are doing very well. We have to come hard at them tomorrow."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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