Shaheen was 'upset', Rizwan wanted captaincy; Babar Azam-led Pakistan's T20 WC team was 'recipe for disaster': Report | Crickit
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Shaheen was 'upset', Rizwan wanted captaincy; Babar Azam-led Pakistan's T20 WC team was 'recipe for disaster': Report

Jun 15, 2024 07:12 PM IST

Pakistan faced an early exit from the T20 World Cup, facing defeats to USA and India in the group stage.

Pakistan were knocked out of the 2024 T20 World Cup on Friday after the match between the United States and Ireland was washed out in Lauderhill. The side required Ireland to beat the USA to stay in contention for a Super Eight spot. Pakistan have had a forgettable outing in the ongoing edition, facing one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history in their opening match against the United States and then conceding a dramatic win to arch-rivals India.

 Pakistan's Babar Azam celebrates with Shaheen Shah Afridi after taking the wicket of India's Rishabh Pant (REUTERS)
Pakistan's Babar Azam celebrates with Shaheen Shah Afridi after taking the wicket of India's Rishabh Pant (REUTERS)

Now, according to news agency PTI, Pakistan's unexpected early exit from the T20 World Cup has sparked discussions about internal "groupings" within the team and the underperformance of senior players during crucial moments. These issues are likely to prompt significant changes not only in the team but also within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Also read Shahid Afridi blasts Babar for 'not supporting Shaheen...': 'Even selectors said he doesn't know how to do captaincy'

The report states that captain Babar Azam's primary challenge upon resuming his leadership earlier this year was to unify the team, a task he struggled with due to the prevailing factions. Reports indicate that Shaheen Afridi was particularly upset over losing the captaincy and felt let down by Babar's lack of support when needed. Additionally, Mohammad Rizwan expressed dissatisfaction over not being considered for the captaincy role.

"There are three groups in the team, one led by Babar Azam, the second one by Shaheen Shaheen Afridi and the third one by Muhammad Rizwan. Add to this mix the return of seniors like Muhammad Aamir and Imad Wasim and the recipe was ready for a World Cup disaster," a source close to the team told PTI.

"The return of Imad and Amir added to the confusion as it was difficult for Babar to get any worthwhile performances from both of them as they had not played top level domestic or international cricket for a long while now except in franchise based leagues.

"There were even instances where some players were not talking to each other and a few of them even tried to appease all the group leaders in the team," added the source.

PCB chairman knew about the issues

A senior PCB official said that Chairman Mohsin Naqvi was well aware of the problems in the team even before the World Cup and had been briefed by his right hand, national selector and senior manager, Wahab Riaz.

"Naqvi held two meetings with all the players in private and gave them pep talks asking them to put their issues aside and focus on winning the World Cup and he would remove all misgivings in the team later on but apparently things didn't work out.

“I am not defending Babar but what is a captain supposed to do when your premier bowler can't even defend 15 in the final over against a weak USA side and concedes a boundary and six on full tosses. Or when an all-rounder brought out of retirement to help win the World Cup sits out with fitness issues.”

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