Pakistan’s former players feel it would not be easy for Shahid Afridi and his men to defend their title at the World Twenty20 Championships as the team is not as strong as it was the last time around.

“Pakistan is really going to have to work hard to defend their title successfully in the World Cup because this team is not as strong as the one that won the World Cup last year in England,” former Test captain Zaheer Abbas said.

Zaheer, known as the “Asian Bradman” for his batting feats, said with a new-look team, the defending champions would be under tremendous pressure.

“The team will have to really gel together and play as a unit to do well this time. They have the capability to win the World Cup but it will only be possible through really hard work,” he said.

He said the last minute injury to pacer Umar Gul was a setback for the team’s preparations.

Zaheer hoped the recent disciplinary action taken against players by the board would set off a more disciplined culture in the team.

Former captain Aamir Sohail pointed out that Pakistan had an excellent track record in Twenty20 cricket but had lost to Australia and England in recent matches in which Shahid Afridi didn’t play.

“Afridi’s role as captain and all-rounder would be vital to the team which has a revised combination. The batsmen will have to click if the team is to do well in the tournament,” he said.

Former pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz said fielding is a major worry for the team.

“It is a good balanced side but I am only worried about the fielding standards. Our fielding has to be really good if we want to play in the final.”

Sarfaraz said Afridi could prove to be an inspirational leader for Pakistan at a time when it was going through a self created crisis.

“His role will be very important how he marshals his troops. He has this ability to lead from the front.”

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