Afridi wants Pakistan to replicate T20 form in Tests
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has rallied his players to carry forward their consistency in the Twenty20s against Australia to the two-Test series that begins at Lord's on July 13. After getting hammered by Australia in all formats of the game earlier this year and in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, Pakistan hit back by winning both the Twenty20s at Edgbaston to get their England tour off to a resounding start.
"I think now that we have regained our winning habit we must work harder to maintain it and make winning a habit," Afridi told a Pakistani sports channel. "I knew sooner or later we will win back-to-back matches because we have been performing well since the Twenty20 World Cup but missed out in close matches."
Twenty20 cricket has suited Pakistan both technically and temperamentally and their crowning moment was the World Twenty20 title win in 2009 in England. However, their form in Tests hasn't been up to the mark, having been beaten 3-0 by Australia away, and drawing a three-Test series in New Zealand 1-1 before that. Afridi, whose leadership has won himself admirers, is determined to reverse that trend in the longer format.
"There is a difference and we have to be aware of this," Afridi said. "But the good thing is that a win is a win in any form of the game and this series win should serve a confidence booster for us ahead of the Tests."
The coach Waqar Younis agreed that the team can take a lot of confidence into the Test series. "I think these two wins are really going to help us to get into the momentum," Waqar said. "Test matches are a different ball game fair enough, but with victory behind you it always helps."
With senior players Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan missing the tour despite their bans being lifted by the PCB, Afridi threw his weight behind the younger players to fill the gap. Yousuf hasn't yet come out of retirement while Younis was left out due to disciplinary reasons.
"Obviously we will miss their experience. I wanted them in the team for this tour and I tried my best to see they were in the team but for different reasons this couldn't happen and it is unfortunate," Afridi said. "But one has to manage with the available resources so right now I am focusing completely on the team I have, on the new players because they are the ones who will fight for Pakistan in the Test matches and I retain confidence they can do this."