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June 24, 2009
The short gap between the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20 and the next edition in the West Indies in April 2010 has robbed Pakistan of the chance to fully savour the triumph, the allrounder Shahid Afridi has said.
"I fail to understand why the next World Cup will be played in nine months time," Afridi told reporters on arrival in Karachi. "If it was being organised after two years, people would have remembered Pakistan's victory and it would have been more enjoyable."
Pakistan's title win at Lord's on Sunday was their first victory in a major ICC tournament since the 1992 World Cup. The first edition of the World Twenty20 was held in South Africa in September 2007 and the champions, India, were able to savour their victory for nearly two years. Pakistan on the other hand will hold on to the tag of defending champions for just nine months.
Afridi, who was given a hero's welcome in Karachi, said the people of Pakistan needed this triumph as a respite from the unstable political and security climate in the country.
"We all know how important this World Cup was with so much happening in Pakistan," Afridi said. "The guys motivated themselves for this World Cup."
Afridi had a quiet start to the tournament with the bat but responded strongly with match-winning half-centuries in the semi-final and final. He also took 11 wickets in the tournament.
He said the support staff, including the head coach Intikhab Alam and bowling coach Aaqib Javed, played a role in shaping the team's victory.
"They all really worked hard with the guys and kept them united and close to each other, that's why we had success," Afridi said.
India's Super Eights exit meant spectators were denied the chance to see one of the keenest rivalries in international cricket being renewed. Pakistan and India only met for a warm-up game before the tournament and Afridi said he felt the Indians weren't keen to play them. "I was a bit disappointed," Afridi told Pakistan's Geo TV. "It didn't appear to me by the attitude of the Indian players that they wanted to play against us. On the face, they said they would like to see cricket between the two countries but I think in their hearts they thought otherwise. Their attitude and behaviour while playing against us showed this."
Bilateral sporting ties between the two countries were suspended after the Mumbai terror attacks in November last year. The Indian governement told the BCCI to cancel India's scheduled tour to Pakistan in January, after which the Pakistan government denied permission to its cricketers to play in the IPL.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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