LAHORE: Former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq termed his counterpart Shahid Afridi’s catch against New Zealand in the Super-8 match as the momentum-booster for not just the Playing XI but for the entire squad in the T20 World Cup 2009.
Following the 13th anniversary of Pakistan’s T20 World Cup triumph, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released a video of the former all-rounder Razzaq, who recalled the journey of the historic glory.
The former all-rounder heaped praises on his counterpart Afridi for his contributions to the team’s World Cup glory, while also terming him one of the best players Pakistan has ever produced.
“Shahid Afridi is one of the best players Pakistan has ever produced. Be it bowling, batting, or fielding, he was outstanding and such players are rare,” Razzaq stated.
“The way he took that catch [against New Zealand] lifted the whole team. When someone performs in such a way then it automatically pumps up not just the Playing XIs fielding in the ground but also those who are sitting on the bench. So, I think we gathered a lot of momentum from the match against New Zealand and then went on to win the tournament from there,” he maintained.
In the video, Razzaq recalled the team’s discussion ahead of the marquee event and revealed that the then captain Younis Khan emphasized the need for an ICC event triumph; citing that the team had not won any trophy in the last 17 years.
“Pakistan last won an ICC event in 1992 and it had been 17 years since then and Pakistan could not win any event. So, in the team discussion, our captain [Younis Khan] used to remind us that it’s been 17 years and we haven’t won any trophy so this event is the best opportunity for you,” Razzaq stated.
The former all-rounder then credited the wicket-keeper batter Kamran Akmal for providing a flying start to the side in the event while he also lauded the bowling attack; calling the couple of Saeed Ajmal and Afridi as ‘unplayable’.
“If the openers play well and for the team in an aggressive manner like Saeed Anwar used to do. So it gives the next batters a relief and momentum, who then try their best to not let it go off. So, if Kamran Akmal is playing and he has scored 50-plus runs in six overs for the team, the upcoming players will then bat in accordance with the run rate,” Razzaq stated.
“For Pakistani bowlers, the best thing for us was that we had the couple of Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi, which was very outstanding, they were unplayable and they used to pick wickets and concede fewer runs, which troubled the opposing teams.
“Then Umar Gul used to come in the death overs. His four overs used to go really well and it had no space for the batters to score freely. He, too, used to pick wickets,” he concluded.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan won the 2009 T20 World Cup under the leadership of Younis Khan as the Green Shirts defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final at Lord’s.