Pakistan's Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi has joined the list of advocates supporting Sachin Tendulkar's inclusion in India's Twenty20 World Cup squad, saying the champion batsman's absence from the next month's event is a blessing in disguise for other teams.
Tendulkar, who quit the format along with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid in 2007, has been in red hot form in the Indian Premier League III and it forced former as well as present cricketers, including Afridi to ask the right-hander to change his decision and play in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies.
"The way he has blossomed in the last few years, he is only getting better and better as a batsman. If he is not playing for India in the Twenty20 World Cup, it is certainly a big advantage for other teams," Afridi said. "If Tendulkar had played in this World Cup, I am sure he would made big impact for India," he added.
Notwithstanding the hue and cry, Tendulkar has recently ruled out the possibility of returning to Twenty20 International cricket. However, Afridi feels with age Tendulkar is getting better day by day and could be a destructive force in T20 matches.
"With every match he seems to be growing as a batsman and getting better. He is playing like a teenager. There is no sign of age affecting his game at all," the Pakistani all-rounder said. "The biggest thing that he still enjoys playing the sport and he is hunger for runs has not died at all," he said.
"I think even in T20 cricket you need to bat properly and at times even playing out 20 overs is a big challenge for a team. You need to play orthodox cricket," Afridi noted.