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Saturday June 15, 2024

Reasons behind Shaheen Afridi's refusal to vice-captaincy

Afridi doesn't want to affect team’s unity and focusing on performance, says senior sports journalist

By Web Desk
May 25, 2024
Pakistan left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi (left) and captain Babar Azam warm up during the practice session in this undated photo. — AFP/File
Pakistan left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi (left) and captain Babar Azam warm up during the practice session in this undated photo. — AFP/File

Pakistan’s left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s refusal to vice-captaincy ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 has sparked debates among cricketing circles, yet again.

Sources close to Shaheen have confirmed that the selection committee had offered the pacer to become the team's vice-captain and skipper Babar Azam's second-in-command, which he refused to accept.

The left-arm fast was “not prepared” to take the responsibility of vice-captaincy for the national side which made wicketkeeper-cum-batter Mohammad Rizwan a strong candidate for the post, team sources told Geo News. Meanwhile, all-rounder Shadab Khan is also in the running for the role.

Senior sports journalist Abdul Majid Bhatti told Geo News that Afridi took it very seriously after being stripped of the T20 captaincy just after five matches. He added that the pacer decided to focus on his cricket instead of affecting the team’s unity ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Bhatti said that the pacer’s father-in-law Shahid Afridi used to guide him regarding his career decisions and the latter advised him to only focus on performance which led him to many opportunities to lead his side in future.

The senior journalist pointed out that Afridi had been declared Man of the Match in his last two encounters with New Zealand in the five-match T20I series played in April.

He added that the national team was united under the captaincy of Azam. Afridi neither wanted to affect the team’s unity nor desired to engage in media speculations but to be focused on improving his performance to play a vital role in Pakistan’s victory.

Yesterday, Pakistan announced their squad for the T20 World Cup 2024, which begins on June 1 and will be played in the United States and West Indies.

It is pertinent to know that the board had appointed Shaheen as the team's T20 skipper following Babar's resignation from the key post in November last year following the team’s below-par performance in the 2023 Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup.

Later in March 2024, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) reinstated Babar Azam as the national side's white-ball captain ahead of the Green Shirt's five-match T20I series against New Zealand which was played in April.