Pakistan now a threat - Afridi
Shahid Afridi believes Pakistan's Champions Trophy triumph has made them serious contenders for the 2019 World Cup.
Pakistan were the lowest seeds for the Champions Trophy and many believed they would be knocked out at the group stage, having been drawn alongside defending champions India, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
The Green Brigade were hammered the Indian's in their opening match, losing by 124 runs after the D/L method was required, but they bounced back with their own D/L win over the Proteas.
A three-wicket victory then followed over Sri Lanka, booking Pakistan's spot in the semi-final, and they advanced into the final after convincingly knocking out tournament favourites England in their own backyard.
Sarfraz Ahmed's men then got their revenge on India in the final, recording a 180-run win, and lifted the Champions Trophy for the first time in their country's history.
It was a remarkable tournament for Pakistan and Hasan Ali, who ended as the top wicket-taker with 13, was named Player of the Series for his fantastic bowling displays.
Afridi, who retired from international cricket in February this year, believes his former side have shown exactly what they can do and they are now a real threat for the World Cup in two years time.
"The teams that might have taken Pakistan lightly in this event will never dare to repeat such a mistake again and whatever the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup may be like, Pakistan will be a serious contender for the trophy," he wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC) website.
"The Champions Trophy 2017 has been a memorable event and Pakistani fans will remember it for a very long time indeed. The fans, especially the youngsters who saw the team dethrone India, will be inspired to replicate the performances of their heroes in the years to come."
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.