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Afridi:'Youngsters can beat Aussies'

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi says his youthful side can beat the similarly inexperienced Australia at Lord's in the MCC Spirit of Cricket Test.

'Dream come true'

"It feels totally different [being at Lord's] the conditions here are totally different. The pitches are behaving completely differently.

"Playing at Lord's - it's a good batting wicket. For the youngsters, who've never played here before, it's a dream come true. We're all grateful for the chance to play at Lord's.

"I'm here to play some good cricket: good batting, bowling and fielding. If we perform well we'll get some good results."

Pakistan won the MCC Spirit of Cricket Twenty20 Series against Australia 2-0. Afridi added:

"Test cricket is a totally different game but winning in any form of cricket keeps morale high. My boys are confident.

"Australia are one of the world's best sides and we're in a rebuilding process - it will be a tough series.

"I've got some very talented youngsters, they've got a good temperament.

"Bowling has been our strength for many years but we've got some good batsmen, some young players in the middle who can take their time."

Sharing problems

Pakistan have been beset by problems both on and off the field and Afridi explained he has been working hard to strengthen the unity within the team:

"As a captain I'm trying to keep the guys as close as I can. Normally I take them for dinners together. We're all sitting together and talking to each other.

"Now, if they have problems, they're talking to me or to the coach - they're sharing their problems."

"It is [a difficult job] especially with players from different cultures, from different cities.

"The thing is I respect these guys - whatever their problems I'll listen and take it to the management and the coach."

Afridi came out of Test retirement to captain Pakistan for this tour:

"[When I retired] _I wasn't thinking about Test cricket - but I knew that my country needed me, that my team needed me. I cannot say no to my country, my team."

Like Pakistan, Australia come into the Test Series with a number of players lacking Test experience. Afridi feels it may be a good time to tackle the Australians:

"They don't have the same Australian side like they used to: Warnie, McGrath, Hayden especially.

"It's a totally different team but this is the time we can catch these guys, if we're mentally strong."


Tickets are still available for all four of the first days of the Test (tickets for day five are not sold in advance).

Prices start from just £30 for adults and only £5 for under-16s.

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