'Babar Azam should have supported Shaheen,' says Shahid Afridi

Former Pakistan skipper blames selection committee, recalls selectors' criticism targeting Babar's captaincy

Sports Desk
(From left to right) Pakistan's white-ball skipper Babar Azam, former all-rounder Shahid Afridi and left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi. — APP/PCB/AFP/File

Following the Pakistan team's early exit from the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024, former skipper and all-rounder Shahid Afridi has opened up on the national side's captaincy saga, saying that Babar Azam should've backed Shaheen Afridi on the said issue.

Speaking on the issue of changes in the team's captaincy on his YouTube channel, Afridi said: "If the decision on Shaheen's captaincy had been made and you [Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)] had stated that he would remain the captain till the [T20] World Cup, then I think Babar [Azam] should have supported Shaheen."

The veteran cricketer's remarks come after heavy criticism of Babar Azam’s captaincy under which Pakistan lost major cricket competitions.

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 stressing 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 2024 where they lost two out of three matches and crashed out of the tournament.