Pakistan seeks revenge against NZ

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi says his side is eager to avenge its Champions Trophy semifinal loss when it takes on New Zealand in the upcoming limited-overs series. "We are definitely better prepared for them this time," Afridi told daily Dawn on Saturday.

"Bring on the (Daniel) Vettoris, the (Shane) Bonds, the Kyle Mills, we are ready for you." New Zealand defeated Pakistan in the semifinal of Champions Trophy in South Africa last month, then lost the final to Australia.

Pakistan is scheduled to leave for United Arab Emirates next week for the three-match one-day series and two Twenty20 games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Later Pakistan will play three tests in New Zealand.

Pakistan's 'home' series was shifted to a neutral venue due to ongoing security concerns. Afridi will captain the side in the Twenty20 games after Younis Khan retired from the shortest form of the game following Pakistan's victory in the T20 World Cup earlier this year.

Afridi, who was named captain till the next Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies next year, refuted reports of ill feeling between he and Khan, who will captain the team in one-day games. "Younis I go a long way as friends, almost 15 years and are mature enough to discuss and sort out any problem under the sun in amicable way," Afridi told the newspaper.

"I am quite used to such rumours of discord or leadership difference which surface everytime Pakistan lose a key match or a tournament. "I am not fazed by them anymore.