PAK vs NZ: "Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah are best bowlers..." - Babar Azam defends pacers and takes a dig at Shadab Khan

Published - 25 Apr 2024, 04:09 PM

Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi
Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi (Image Credits: Twitter)

Pakistan captain Babar Azam opened up about left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi's poor bowling performance during the third T20I of the ongoing series against New Zealand. Babar Azam expressed confidence in Shaheen Afridi's ability to make a strong comeback in the upcoming matches.

The Babar Azam-led side is currently hosting a five-match series against New Zealand. The first match had no result due to rain after just two deliveries were bowled. The home team secured a comfortable seven-wicket victory at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium to take the lead in the series.

The visiting team bounced back to clinch a seven-wicket victory during the third T20I match. The Pakistan team posted a total of 178 runs for the loss of four wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Mark Chapman played a crucial role as the BlackCaps chased down the target with 10 balls to spare.

Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah struggled to pick up wickets in the match. Afridi went wicketless in the match, conceding 37 runs in 3.2 overs. Naseem picked up one wicket but conceded 44 runs in three overs. The pace duo's disappointing outing impacted the Pakistan team's outcome.

Shaheen Afridi And Naseem Shah Are The Best Bowlers - Babar Azam

Babar Azam labeled Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah as the team's best bowlers. He expressed confidence in their ability to rebound from any setbacks. Babar emphasized that every player should step up to contribute to the team's success. He seemingly took a dig at the likes of Shadab Khan, Abbas Afridi, and Abrar Ahmed for not stepping up when Shaheen and Naseem failed.

“Shaheen and Naseem are the best bowlers and they know how to make a comeback. If they misfire in a game so it happens. There should be a contribution of every player and if any one does not perform others should make it up,” Babar said.

Our Bonding Is Good - Babar Azam

The 29-year-old batter highlighted the team's unity, stating that they will discuss the merits and demerits, which further strengthens their bonding as a team.

“Our bonding is good. Yes, when we lose, we discuss the merits and demerits and it further strengthens our bonding as a team,” Babar concluded.

Babar Azam replaced Shaheen Afridi as the T20I captain. Afridi led the team for just one series. Pakistan suffered a 1-4 T20I series loss in New Zealand under Afridi's leadership. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) allegedly did not provide the pace bowler with a reason for his replacement. 

After the 2023 ODI World Cup, Babar Azam relinquished captaincy across formats due to the Pakistan team's failure to advance to the knockout stage. Shaheen Afridi then briefly took over as the T20I captain before being removed. Meanwhile, Shan Masood was appointed as the Test captain.

The last two matches of the series will take place at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on April 25 and April 27. After this series, Pakistan will travel to Ireland and England for the T20I series ahead of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in the West Indies and the USA in June.

Also read: T20 WC 2024: Riyan Parag, Abhishek Sharma, and Mayank Yadav to be ignored by selectors for World Cup


New Zealand Tour Of Pakistan 2024 Pakistan national cricket team New Zealand national cricket team Shaheen Afridi Naseem Shah Babar Azam