“Those Elements Aren’t Present…”: Babar Azam Breaks Silence On Rift With Shaheen Afridi


Pakistan's reinstated captain Babar Azam finally addressed the elephant in the room and opened up on the recent captaincy controversy where he was re-appointed captain in place of Shaheen Shah Afridi. Questions were raised on Afridi's leadership when his team suffered a 1-4 away defeat to New Zealand during his first captaincy assignment. Amidst the uproar over the leadership, there were reports in the media that Shaheen was dissatisfied with the sudden manner in which he was removed from the captaincy. Shaheen's mysterious social media statements further fueled these reports.

Despite everything that has happened in recent weeks, Pakistan white-ball captain Azam said he and Afridi still have a good relationship. Despite the turbulent nature of the captaincy change, it appears that the relationship between Pakistan's two most prominent cricketers is staying together for the time being.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the first T20I against New Zealand, Babar reiterated that all the players support each other in all situations.

“I want to make it clear that Shaheen [Afridi] And my bond is not recent, it is very old. We support each other in every situation. Our aim is to put Pakistan at first place and how to bring glory to Pakistan. “We don't think about personal glory and thankfully those elements are not present in my team,” Babar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

What he meant was that Pakistan will experiment throughout the five matches, keeping the T20 World Cup in mind and focusing all their training on that.

“Our line-up is flexible. We are trying to give chances to our young players and bench strength. You will see different combinations in this series and check what works for us. You will see it with the bowling as well batting, and by the time we get to the Ireland and England series, we will have a clear picture,” he said.

Azam said the club has a good balance of youth and experience and he is happy to see new faces in the team.

“I feel very happy when I see a new player getting selected for the Pakistan cricket team on the basis of domestic performance. So whatever young players come in, we try to keep them with us. Because at the international level Whenever you come in, you need a little support. It helps to have a senior player who can give you a little support and we always support all the senior players.”

The five-match series will begin on April 18 in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan team:Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Aamir, Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saeem Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan And Zaman Khan.

New Zealand team:Michael Bracewell (captain), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O'Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Jack Foulkes.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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