'I want to make clear that Shaheen Afridi...': Babar Azam makes staggering statement on Pakistan captaincy controversy | Crickit
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'I want to make clear that Shaheen Afridi...': Babar Azam makes staggering statement on Pakistan captaincy controversy

Apr 18, 2024 12:53 PM IST

Babar Azam opened up on Pakistan's recent captaincy controversy, where he was reappointed as skipper, replacing Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Shaheen Shah Afridi was left disgruntled last month when PCB replaced him with Babar Azam, who was reappointed as Pakistan captain. The manner in which it was done created controversy as Afridi was left furious with a statement on PCB's website which carried his quotes, which he did not say.

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (R) and teammate Shaheen Shah Afridi (L) warm up during practice session.(AFP)
Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (R) and teammate Shaheen Shah Afridi (L) warm up during practice session.(AFP)

Ahead of Pakistan's T20I series vs New Zealand, Babar held his first press conference in his second captaincy stint. Speaking about his relationship with the pacer, the batter reassured fans that they were in good terms. "I want to make clear that Shaheen [Afridi] and my bond is not recent, it goes back a long way," he said.

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"We support each other in every situation. Our aim is to put Pakistan first, and how to put Pakistan's name up in lights. We don't think of individual glory, and thankfully, those elements are not present in my team," he further added.

It is worth noting that when a year ago, rumours about Babar losing his captaincy began, Afridi was the one of the first to back him.

Speaking on Usman Mir, he said, "Usman needs to keep doing the things that got him here. We put expectations on every player. I expect certain things from myself as well as my players. It pleases me when a young player gets an opportunity and the senior players back him. We try and take young players under our wings because when you come to international cricket, you initially struggle and need support and confidence. And then those players go on to serve Pakistan."

The New Zealand series will be a litmus test for Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to begin in June. Pakistan were runners-up in the 2022 T20 World Cup, and will be looking to clinch the title this time.

"I always believe the players we have here are here on the basis of performance. Sometimes it becomes difficult when you have so much talent at your disposal to produce a playing XI. We try and do the best for Pakistan. All of this is preparation for the World Cup and it all starts tomorrow," said Babar.

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