Shahid Afridi: Pakistan cricket back on track with Champions Trophy win
Extremely jubilant with Pakistan's emphatic Champions Trophy title-win, former T20 skipper Shahid Afridi believes that the country's cricket is now back on track and hoped that team reach some incredible highs in the years to come.
The Sarfraz Ahmed-led side on Sunday came out on top with a commendable all-round performance as they defeated India by 180 runs at The Oval to lift their maiden Champions Trophy title.
"It has been an ultra-quick turnaround from no-hopers to champions for the Pakistan players and the manner in which the team won the match was really impressive," wrote Afridi in a column for the International Cricket Council ( ICC).
"This is one victory that Pakistan fans will remember for long. It has been an ultra-quick turnaround from no-hopers to champions for the Pakistan players and the manner in which the team won the match was really impressive."
"The turnaround has left the world bewildered and has brought a wave of ecstasy and unbridled joy for Pakistanis all around the world. As soon as the game ended, celebrations mirroring the 1992 World Cup and 2009 World T20 wins began across the country," he added.
The former all-rounder asserted that the victory will remain in the hearts of the Pakistani fans for long and that the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side deserve to celebrate well beyond the Eid festival next week as the players richly deserve their victory.
The 37-year-old further said that at present, Pakistan have got a team that has the ability to develop into one of the top three teams by the time the 2019 World Cup is played in England.
"This squad is built around exciting young talent and has an astute and passionate leader in Sarfraz," he said.
"The teams that might have taken Pakistan lightly in this event will never dare to repeat such a mistake again and whatever the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup may be like; Pakistan will be a serious contender for the trophy."
"The Champions Trophy 2017 has been a memorable event and Pakistani fans will remember it for a very long time indeed. The fans, especially the youngsters, who saw the team dethrone India, will be inspired to replicate the performances of their heroes in the years to come," he added.
The flamboyant cricketer, nicknamed 'Boom Boom Afridi', further insisted that just like the 1992 World Cup win gave Pakistan a new generation of match winners, this Champions Trophy victory will also put the country's cricket back on track.
"The 1992 World Cup win gave us a new generation of match winners and this win ranks very close to that, I am confident that Pakistan cricket is back on track and we will see this team reach some incredible highs in the years to come, especially if the team continues to play with the kind of passion and commitment displayed in this tournament," said Afridi.