Pakistan faced a significant setback during the Asia Cup 2023 tournament, as the Green Team, previously considered a strong contender to claim the coveted trophy, suffered elimination during the Super 4 stage. This unexpected turn of events transpired after a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in Colombo.
The crushing loss dashed Pakistan’s hopes of becoming Asia’s cricket champions and placed their captain, Babar Azam, under the harsh spotlight of intense criticism. Moreover, it exposed underlying tensions and internal discord within the team.
Rumours of Feud
According to reports, Babar initiated a discussion by expressing his view that the team had not played responsibly. However, this statement sparked a disagreement with Shaheen Shah Afridi, who reportedly responded, “At least appreciate those who bowled and batted well.” The skipper responded, “I am aware of which players are performing well.” Mohammad Rizwan intervened at this juncture to calm things down.
Shahid Afridi, the veteran cricketer and Shaheen’s father-in-law, has shared his thoughts on the ongoing turmoil. The seasoned former cricketer has shared his advice to Babar during this challenging period.
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‘Don’t fear making tough decisions’: Shahid Afridi
The former Pakistan cricketer recommended Babar to seek guidance from the coach and the team director to enhance his leadership skills as a captain. Moreover, Afridi emphasized bolstering the young captain’s decision-making capabilities by encouraging in-depth discussions, particularly with senior figures such as head coach Mickey Arthur.
“We are going to the World Cup. All the seniors, including head coach, Mickey, have to talk to him [Babar Azam]. Make him strong. Don’t fear making tough decisions. Don’t worry about losses. Either you win, or you learn,” Afridi said on Samaa TV.
The 46-year-old stressed that with three years of captaincy under his belt, Babar should proactively seek solutions from within the team, urging the right-handed batter to tap into the wealth of experience available in the dressing room, which will ultimately help in improving his ability as a captain.
“My issue is, you’ve been leading the side for 3 years. Come on. There are professionals around you. Talk to them and improve your captaincy. You’re a big player, but you would want people to also remember you as captain,” Afridi added.