PAK vs IRE: Watch: 'Meri nazar mein Babar Azam ki izzat...'- Shahid Afridi reignites debate over Pakistan's captaincy drama

Published - 12 Jun 2024, 06:51 PM | Updated - 12 Jun 2024, 06:58 PM

Babar Azam-Shaheen Afridi and Shahid Afridi
Babar Azam-Shaheen Afridi and Shahid Afridi. Image Credit: X

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has yet again stirred controversy over the abrupt removal of fast bowler Shaheen Afridi as the Pakistan national cricket team captain. Babar Azam's reinstatement as captain earlier this year drew Afridi's fury, especially as Shaheen's tenure was terminated after just one series.

Afridi expressed his disappointment over the PCB's decision to remove Shaheen as captain after just one series, following a string of poor performances in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Notably, Babar was sacked as Pakistan captain after their dismal campaign in the ODI World Cup 2023 in India, and the PCB made Afridi the new captain of the white-ball team.

Shahid Afridi  slams PCB's treatment of Shaheen Shah Afridi

But the newly-appointed PCB chairman, Mohsin Naqvi, was not interested in backing Afridi as captain after the Pakistan cricket team lost the T20I series, and he brought back Babar Azam as white-ball captain earlier this year, which led to a rift between the top cricketers of the team.

Well, the decision to replace Shaheen with Babar as Pakistan’s white-ball captain did not sit well with Afridi, who is Shaheen's father-in-law. Afridi criticized the PCB's lack of faith in Shaheen's leadership abilities and questioned why he wasn't given a longer run to prove himself. Not only the former all-rounder, but many former cricketers slammed the PCB’s move.

After Pakistan’s loss to India, followed by an embarrassing defeat against the USA in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024, Afridi expressed his anger at Babar, suggesting that the star batter could have shown more integrity by agreeing to play under Shaheen's leadership instead of accepting the captaincy again following his sacking.

Respect for Babar Azam would have grown had he taken a stand for Shaheen Afridi: Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi said on Samaa TV’s show: “Har insaan ki apni soch hai. Mai isko iss tarah leta hu ke meri nazar mei, duniya ki nazar mei, Babar Azam ki izzat aur zyad upar ho jaati agar woh ye stand leta apne player ke liye ki 'main Shaheen ki kaptaani mei khelna chahta hu...Shaheen ko agar bana diya kaptaan toh ye galat tareeqa hai ke aap usko fauran kaptaani se hata dein' (Everyone has his own opinion. How I see it is that in my eyes and the eyes of the world, respect for Babar would have grown had he said at the time that he will play under Shaheen's captaincy and that it was wrong to remove Shaheen as captain so early).”

Afridi also highlighted the damaging impact of groupism within the Pakistan team, emphasizing that it reflects poorly on the captain's leadership and indicates a lack of respect among the players. He criticized Babar for consistently blaming the bowlers after defeats instead of taking responsibility for his team's performance as a captain and batter.

Afridi said that strong leadership prevents internal rifts within the team and fosters unity. He added, “If a captain is of a strong character, then news like the formation of groups in the team will never come out.” Notably, Pakistan returned to winning ways with a seven-wicket win over Canada in their third Group A game in the tournament.

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Shahid Afridi Shaheen Afridi Babar Azam Pakistan national cricket team PCB ICC T20 World Cup 2024 ICC T20 World Cup