sport

Afridi allays injury fears

Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has played down concerns over his fitness ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

The 34-year-old suffered a groin injury during the recent Asia Cup tournament, and he will remain at home for treatment when the squad departs for Bangladesh on Friday.

But Afridi has insisted the injury is not serious, and he expects to fly out on Monday.

"I am recovering well and (will) hopefully play at least one warm-up match," Afridi told reporters.

He will sit out Pakistan's opening warm-up clash against New Zealand on Monday, but he is confident he will be fit to feature in the friendly with South Africa on March 19.

Afridi made a welcome return to form with the bat in the Asia Cup, smashing Pakistan to a dramatic final-over victory over arch-rivals India with two consecutive sixes.

He then hammered 59 from just 25 balls to help Pakistan chase down 327 for victory over Bangladesh, but he was powerless to stop Sri Lanka cruising to a five-wicket victory in the final.

Pakistan open their World Twenty20 campaign with a blockbuster encounter against India in Dhaka on March 21, and Afridi believes his side will go into the match full of confidence after their Asia Cup win.

"The Asia Cup win over India will benefit us," said Afridi. "But we have to be at our best to beat India who will now be with (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni.

"I can't see a better (limited-overs) combination in the world than Pakistan because our bowling is good and our batting is good.

"The only mistake we are doing that's in fielding and fielding is the most essential thing in limited-over cricket."

Afridi was player of the tournament in the inaugural World Twenty20 held in South Africa, when Pakistan finishing runners-up to India, and he was man-of-the-match in both the semi-final and the final when Pakistan were crowned champions in England in 2009.