Babar Azam breaks silence on alleged dressing-room spat with Shaheen Afridi
Days after the fast bowler addressed the issue, Babar broke his silence on the matter on the eve of Pakistan's departure for the World Cup.
There are always discussions about the good in a team, debate on the flaws that the team could look to amend, especially after a big tournament or going into a event as big as the ODI World Cup. But all those talks take a backseat when rumours of a rift between two top players in a side go viral. It was less than a fortnight back when Pakistan incurred a shocking Asia Cup exit after crushing defeat to India and Sri Lanka in Colombo in the Super Four stage. But more than talk shows and news articles discussing about what Pakistan could do to better themselves for the World Cup in India, cynosure of Asia Cup exit pertained to an alleged fight between captain Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi in the dressing room. And days after the fast bowler addressed the issue, Babar broke his silence on the matter on the eve of Pakistan's departure for the World Cup.
Moments after Pakistan's heartbreaking defeat to Sri Lanka in a rain-marred Asia Cup tie, that denied them a slot in the final, reports emerged revealing that Babar and Shaheen were at loggerheads in the dressing room when the skipper was addressing the side. Babar had warned his teammates to not think of themselves as "superstars", adding that people will care less about them if they fail to perform well in the World Cup. It was then that Shaheen interrupted Babar urging him to at least acknowledge the performances of those to played well in the continental event and that is what sparked the rift leaving other senior players in Mohammad Rizwan to calm the skipper down before the players left the stadium for the team hotel.
In the pre-departure press-conference on Tuesday in Lahore, Babar was asked about the incident and he explained that when close matches are lost the dressing room does tend to have a normal meeting while respecting every player, but the scene often gets misinterpreted sparking such rumours.
"Respect is given to everyone. You see, whenever the match is close and we lose, it's just a regular meeting, but sometimes it's portrayed as if we had a fight. It shouldn't be like that. Respect should remain constant for everyone. We love each other as much as we do our family," he said.
Earlier, Shaheen had taken to X to share a picture of the two with a one-word caption saying, “family”, following by a heart emoticon.
Pakistan will play two warn-up matches in Hyderabad on September 29 and October 3 before kicking off their World Cup campaign from 6th onwards against Netherlands.
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