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All eyes on Afridi for inspiring Pakistan

The tourists clinched an emphatic 3-1 one-day international series victory in Dubai last weekend, coming back from 1-0 down to win the next three fixtures in the four-match series.

Riaz, who has been the leader-in-chief of the Pakistan pace attack all summer, feels Afridi’s specialist T20 presence — in his first international since the 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe in September — is what the team needs in the upcoming three-match contest, which begins in Dubai on Thursday.

“Obviously Afridi is a great cricketer with the kind of ability he has in the bowling and batting department,” he said in an interview with Sport360 on Tuesday.

“With a guy like Shahid Afridi leading the team in this format we have very high hopes that he will perform well.”

Riaz freely admits that Pakistan look back on the recent 50-over clashes with the regret of not performing better, but he believes his team can start to set the record straight this week, in what is another big test ahead of next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in India.

“We could have done better in the one-day international series against England but unfortunately we didn’t play as well as our opponents.

“We have this series now to perform better and secure a good series win. Hopefully we can go into it and hit form at the right time, we are determined to,” he said.

As for his own form, the Lahore-born seamer, who claimed only three wickets in the ODIs but eight in the Test matches, wants to keep it simple and continue to run in and bowl fast.


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