Not Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan! Harbhajan Singh hails Pakistan's 'big player' for acknowledging failures

Published - 17 Jun 2024, 05:30 PM | Updated - 17 Jun 2024, 05:42 PM

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh (Credits: X)

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh lent support to Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi following his side's victory over Ireland yesterday. 

Heading into the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and West Indies, Shaheen Afridi had got into an internal rift with the Pakistani management. The reason for his anger was the re-appointment of Babar Azam as the captain which came at the cost of Shaheen, who was appointed as captain in February, getting dismissed from the leadership role. 

After the conclusion of the ODI World Cup 2023 in India, Babar Azam had stepped down from captaining Pakistan himself. A few weeks later, Shan Masood was given the onus of captaining the Test team while Shaheen Afridi became the T20I captain. Afridi's first assignment as captain was a 5-match T20I series away in New Zealand right after the team's 3-0 Test series loss to Australia.

In his first series as captain, Shaheen Afridi was thrashed 5-1 and that proved to be his first and last series as skipper. After the arrival of new PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi, Babar Azam was brought back to take care of the white-ball team. His re-appointment was also made with a vision that a batsman will be able to lead the side better in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. 

And we all know what eventually happened. Pakistan exited the T20 WC from the group stages itself. The runners-up of the previous edition lost to co-hosts USA in Super Over before crashing out against India and winning against Canada and Ireland.

What did Harbhajan Singh say about Shaheen Afridi?  

While speaking to Star Sports yesterday after Pakistan's victory over Ireland, Harbhajan Singh had high praise for Shaheen Afridi. Harbhajan hailed Afridi for bowling well in yesterday's game but he does feel that the latter got a bit late while trying to hit his peak form. 

Harbhajan Singh feels that Pakistan's T20 WC might be over but Shaheen Afridi will be boosted by his performance against Ireland. 

"Shaheen Afridi bowled well. He came in proper form slightly late in this tournament. Their tournament is over but this match would give him confidence for sure," Harbhajan said via Star Sports.

Harbhajan Singh claims Shaheen will stage a great comeback

Harbhajan Singh then spoke about the expectations Shaheen Afridi had from himself in this T20 World Cup. The 2007 T20 WC winner is of the view that Shaheen must be feeling bad for not being able to perform as per expectations in this edition. Harbhajan claimed that this is a sign of a big player but given the way he bowled today, the team will be satisfied with his services.  

"A big player feels bad when he doesn't perform as per expectations. However, he will feel better today as he did a job where both he and his team will feel nice. As he said, their focus will be on the future. They will reflect on whatever has happened, rectify their mistakes and move forward," Harbhajan Singh concluded.


Shaheen Afridi Harbhajan Singh ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Babar Azam Pakistan Cricket Board ICC T20 World Cup