If Pakistan‘s shock exit from the 2023 Asia Cup, following crushing loss to India and Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage, wasn’t enough, fans and veteran cricketers were left immensely concerned over reports claiming that captain Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi were at loggerheads in the dressing room post the loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo last week. The report further sparked rumours of dressing room rift and change of captaincy as well ahead of the ICC ODI World Cup. However, Shaheen, on Tuesday, broke silence on the matter with a one-word social-media post.
The reports emerged after Pakistan’s loss to Sri Lanka in a rain-marred match which was reduced to 42 overs. A furious Babar reportedly addressed the team in th dressing room urging players to not think of themselves as “superstars” and that if they fail to perform in the World Cup, no one will even ask of them. It was then that Shaheen had interrupted with a request, leading to a disagreement between the two which later saw the like of Mohammad Rizwan intervene.
The news of a rift in the Pakistan team ahead of the World Cup left fans, experts and veterans disturbed and it has all that has been in discussion for over a week now as the 1992 ODI champions builds towards the big tournament in India, until now. On Tuesday, Shaheen put all the rumours to rest with a stunning one-word post.
Sharing an image of the two, Shaheen captioned it “Family” with a heart emoticon.
Pakistan had made an impressive start to their Asia Cup campaign where they had defeated Nepal with Babar scoring a record 151. The Pakistan fast bowlers then ran riot against the Indian batters before rain washed out that group-stage tie.
In the Super Four stage, Pakistan beat Bangladesh in their opener, but their hopes received a crushing blow when India handed them a 228-run loss. The two-time Asia Cup winners, later went down to Sri Lanka in their final tie to finish bottom of the points table in Super Four.