Wednesday July 17, 2024

Shahid Afridi opens up on Shaheen, Babar's captaincy saga

Afridi's remarks come as Babar continues to face strong criticism for teams' failure in major tournaments

By Sports Desk
June 15, 2024
Pakistan left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi (left) and skipper Babar Azam pictured during Asia Cup 2023. — AFP/File
Pakistan left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi (left) and skipper Babar Azam pictured during Asia Cup 2023. — AFP/File

Veteran cricketer Shahid Afridi has finally opened up on the Pakistan team's captaincy saga involving his son-in-law Shaheen Shah Afridi and the team's current  T20 skipper Babar Azam.

"If the decision on Shaheen's captaincy had been made and you [Pakistan Cricket Board] had stated that he would remain the captain till the [T20] World Cup, then I think Babar [Azam] should have supported Shaheen," Afridi said while speaking on his YouTube channel.

Afridi's comments come as Babar is facing criticism from fans and former cricketers alike for the national side's poor performances in tournaments including T20 World Cup 2024. 

It is to be noted that ex-PCB chief Zaka Ashraf had appointed Shaheen as white-ball captain following the team's drubbing in the ICC World Cup 2023.

However, in March, the board reinstated Babar as the T20 captain, replacing Shaheen after the team's 4-1 loss in a bilateral series against New Zealand.

Last month, the pacer had declined the PCB's offer of vice-captaincy saying that he wasn't prepared to accept the said responsibility.

Continuing on the captaincy issue, Afridi said that Babar should've said "no" to the board and should've expressed his as well as the players' readiness to play under the left-arm pacer's captaincy because Shaheen has been playing with him for a long time.

"If he [Shaheen] is made captain and the selection committee has made him the captain, then yes I [Babar] will support him and play under his captaincy'. This is the stance Babar should've taken," the former skipper said. 

He stressed that the star batter's respect would've increased greatly for setting an example had he done that.

However, Afridi didn't blame Babar altogether and said that it was not entirely his fault as some of the responsibility lies with the selection committee too since some of the selectors on record said that Babar doesn't know how to do captaincy.

The former all-rounder lambasted the team’s poor show in the ongoing T20 World Cup where they lost two out of three matches and crashed out of the tournament.