Shahid Afridi baffled by PCB's 'surgery' in sacking Abdul Razzaq-Wahab Riaz and backing Babar Azam

Published - 10 Jul 2024, 05:45 PM | Updated - 10 Jul 2024, 05:49 PM

Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz
Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz. Image Credit: X

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Wednesday, July 10, the sacking of Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq from the national selection committee in the wake of the national team’s poor performance in the recent ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan Cricket Team was eliminated from the T20 World Cup 2024 in the group stages after they suffered embarrassing defeats against the co-hosts, the USA and India. The Men in Green’s poor performance led PCB to remove Razzaq and Wahab from the selection committee.

Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq sacked by PCB after T20 World Cup 2024 debacle

PCB said in an official statement: “The PCB today confirmed that it has notified Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz that their services will no longer be required in the national selection committee setup.”

Notably, Wahab and Razzaq were part of the PCB's seven-member selection committee, with Razzaq also serving on the women's team selection committee. PCB is likely to take more stern actions to improve the Pakistan cricket team’s performance in international cricket.

Shahid Afridi surprised by Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz's axing from selection committee

Meanwhile, the former Pakistan captain and legendary all-rounder, Shahid Afridi, has expressed his surprise and concern over the removal of Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz from the national team selection committee. Expressed confusion over the PCB’s decision, Afridi referred to it as a baffling "surgery" that he finds hard to understand.

Shahid Afridi was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan: “To be honest, this kind of surgery is beyond my comprehension.”

Meanwhile, Afridi highlighted the opportunities given to current captain Babar Azam. The former Pakistani captain noted that, unlike past captains, Azam has had an unusually stable tenure.

Furthermore, the legendary all-rounder pointed out that typically, captains are the first to be replaced after a World Cup, but Azam has been given ample time to prove himself, and the selectors are losing their jobs.

No captain has ever had such a clear opportunity like Babar Azam: Shahid Afridi

Afridi compared Azam's tenure with those of former captains like himself, Younis Khan, and Misbah-ul-Haq, suggesting that the star batter has had sufficient chances. He also urged everyone to fully support Azam and his captaincy as they look forward to building a strong unit.

He signed off by saying, “No captain has ever had such a clear opportunity. Usually, the captain is the first to be dismissed, right after the World Cup ends. We've led the team too, like myself, Younis Khan, and Misbah-ul-Haq, but Babar has had sufficient opportunities. Let's make one decisive move and back him wholeheartedly with whatever he brings.”

Earlier, PCB chief Mohsin Naqvi confirmed that they have not made any decisions about Babar’s white-ball captaincy. Pakistan’s next limited-overs are against Australia in November, so they have a lot of time to think about, but there are slim chances of the axing of Babar.

Recently, Pakistan’s white-ball head coach, Gary Kirsten, also hinted that Babar would not be removed as the captain when he arrived in Lahore for the meeting with the PCB. Pakistan is currently preparing for the Test series against Bangladesh at home.

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Abdul Razzaq Wahab Riaz Babar Azam Shahid Afridi Pakistan national cricket team PCB