Afridi criticizes Azam for captaincy switch ahead of T20 World Cup

Afridi criticizes Azam for captaincy switch ahead of T20 World Cup

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has sharply criticized the current national team captain, Babar Azam, for assuming captaincy duties from Shaheen Afridi just before the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. The criticism comes in the wake of Pakistan’s early exit from the tournament, following humiliating defeats to the USA and India in their initial fixtures.

Disappointing performance sparks controversy

Pakistan failed to advance beyond the group stage of the global event, triggering a wave of disappointment and controversy. After their poor showing, Afridi did not hold back in expressing his disapproval of Babar’s return to the captaincy. Notably, Babar was reinstated as captain after Shaheen’s brief and challenging stint as skipper, which included a 1-4 series loss to New Zealand in January.

Shahid Afridi’s stinging criticism of Babar Azam

Afridi criticized Babar for not standing by Shaheen when the latter was appointed as the T20I captain. Afridi reckoned that Babar should have supported Shaheen’s leadership and played under him, which would have demonstrated unity and strengthened Babar’s respect within the team. By taking over the captaincy just before the T20 World Cup 2024, Afridi suggested that Babar undermined Shaheen’s authority and disrupted the team’s continuity and morale.

“If the decision on Shaheen’s captaincy had been made and you [PCB] had stated that he will remain the captain till the [T20] World Cup, then I think Babar [Azam] should have supported Shaheen there and should have said that ‘no, if you have made him [Shaheen] the captain, then we are ready to play under his captaincy because Shaheen has been playing with me for a long time. If he is made captain and the selection committee has made him the captain, then yes I will support him and play under his captaincy’. This is the stance Babar should’ve taken. Babar’s respect would’ve increased greatly that he has set an example with a remarkable decision,” Afridi said on his YouTube channel.

Also READ: Michael Vaughan blasts Pakistan and Babar Azam after dismal performance in T20 World Cup 2024

Selection committee shares the blame too

Afridi also pointed out that the selection committee shares the blame for the national team’s poor performance. He highlighted that some selectors publicly doubted Babar’s captaincy skills, which likely contributed to the instability and confusion within the team. Afridi implies that the lack of a clear and consistent leadership strategy from the selection committee has had a detrimental effect on the team’s performance and cohesion during critical tournaments like the T20 World Cup.

“But this was not entirely the fault of Babar because some of the blame lies with the selection committee too since some of the selectors on record said that Babar doesn’t know how to do captaincy,” he added.

Final game against Ireland

Following their early exit from the T20 World Cup 2024, Pakistan are set to face Ireland in their final league fixture on Sunday, June 16, at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Lauderhill, Florida. The match provides a chance for the team to salvage some pride and reflect on the lessons learned from a tumultuous tournament campaign.

Also READ: Ahmed Shehzad rips apart Babar Azam over his poor stats in T20Is; labels Pakistan captain as ‘fake king’


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