Pakistan team aren’t in the best mental shape lately. They had headed into the Asia Cup as the No. 1 ranked side in ICC ODI charts, before demolishing India batters in a rain washed out game in their opener. But while it looked destined that they would make the final as well for the second consecutive year, Pakistan were crushed by India and Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage to knock them out of the tournament. While there have been no official statements or first-hand remark from any of the teammates, the loss sparked reports of captain Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi being at loggerheads. Few even suggested of a change in captaincy for the World Cup with names of Shaheen and Shadab Khan with former interim chief selector Shahid Afridi being tagged in the rumour. The legendary cricketer later clarified his stance on the rumours making rounds on social media.
During an interview with Samaa TV, Afridi was left utterly frustrated at a misleading information making rounds on social media claiming that he has been pushing Shaheen to take over the role of Pakistan captaincy amid the ongoing reports of the fast bowler having a dressing room dispute to incumbent leader Babar. He vehemently denied it adding that he has rather suggested Shaheen to stay away from the captaincy role.
“I was scrolling through my Twitter, and I saw that now they’re running something with my name that Shahid Afridi stated, in my opinion, Shaheen Afridi can lead the team better than Babar Azam, Lahore Qalandars won a PSL trophy under his captaincy,” Afridi clarified, laughing off the misinformation.
The former Pakistan captain was also left baffled at how certain remarks are being portrayed by the media.
“I don’t understand why they are saying such things, even though I express my views on Samaa. I share my perspective on Samaa, but they interpret it in their own way. Although I am the only person who keeps Shaheen away from the captaincy,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the report of Babar and Shaheen having an altercation in the dressing room after Pakistan’s loss to Sri Lanka was denied with a senior player telling Pakistan’s leading website Cricket Pakistan that players only shared their thoughts in the meeting.
“The team’s sole focus is on cricket, and we are not concerned about the critics. Losing a match gives our critics an opportunity to voice their opinions, but these are merely negative speculations,” he said. “In the team meeting, everyone shared their thoughts, but there is no truth to the rumors of a verbal altercation or the coaching staff needing to intervene. Everyone left the meeting together, and many teammates travelled back to Pakistan on the same flight.”