Shaheen Afridi breaks silence after losing Pakistan captaincy

Two months ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) added a new twist to the story by reappointing Babar Azam as the white-ball captain, thereby closing the curtains to Shaheen Afridi’s single-series stint as a T20I captain.

Earlier, Shaheen Afridi took over the captaincy after Babar Azam stepped down following the Pakistan cricket team’s disappointing performance in the ICC World Cup 2023.

Under Shaheen’s captaincy, Pakistan played and lost only one T20I series against New Zealand with a margin of 4-1. Also, the Lahore Qalandars led by Shaheen Shah Afridi concluded at the bottom bottomers in the PSL 2024 points table.

Less than a week ago, PCB explained that it was a strategic move to remove Shaheen Afridi as the captain of the senior men’s T20I team. Furthermore, the PCB newly appointed Mohsin Naqvi as the Chairman after losing the test series against Australia in January 2024 with a complete sweep of 0-3 and the T20I series against New Zealand.

Moreover, Shaheen Afridi indirectly shared his opinion through a video that set the social media storming.

Shaheen Afridi’s Opinion: Instagram Story

After the captaincy change, Shaheen Afridi broke his silence by sharing an Instagram story that consists of a 29-second video of a lion filled with many interesting captions:

“Never! Never and ever place me in a circumstance where I have to show you how ruthless I can be. Do not test my patience. Though I might be the kindest and sweetest person you’ve ever met, once I hit my limit, you’ll observe me do the actions that no one has ever thought that I could be capable of doing severely.”

It remains unknown if this video was related to the circumstances of the Pakistan national cricket team or not, but Shaheen included the hashtags “PCB” and “Pakistan Cricket” in his post which raises additional doubts.

Shaheen Afridi Opens Up After Getting Sacked as Captain

Later Shaheen Afridi clarified that he was pleased with the PCB’s decision and opened up about his captaincy in the presence of Babar Azam in the squad. He shared that they were commonly working for the same goal to make Pakistan the best cricket team in the world:

“ You need to understand the main concept. I will always look back on the best memories and opportunities of my life. Indeed, it was an absolute achievement for me to captain Pakistan in his (Babar Azam) presence, and I was looking forward to playing under his leadership once again. As a player, it is completely my responsibility to support our captain Babar Azam. Earlier, I have played under his captaincy. I promise to assist him on and off the field. Remember we all are one, and we aim to contribute our best efforts to rank Pakistan as the best team in the world.” Shaheen said through a PCB statement.

Babar Azam about Shaheen Afridi’s captaincy

Similarly, Babar Azam shared his opinion via the same statement by valuing Shaheen’s input on the field as a captain:

“ Absolutely! It was one of the most wonderful experiences playing under Shaheen’s captaincy in the latest T20I series against New Zealand. He is still young and keeps on improving himself as a player and leader in every game. As a skipper, I always value his input and I keep referring to him before moving forward with any important decisions. Jointly, our goal is to make Pakistan the strongest cricketing side in the world.” Babar Azam commented through the same statement.   

Conclusion:

The frequent changes in captaincy and board members show the lack of planning and inconsistency of the PCB. Especially, sacking Babar Azam from captaincy in all formats of cricket and reappointing him within a few months shows the PCB’s lack of trust in its players.

Perhaps, the PCB decided to take safety measures by changing the captaincy after scrutinizing Shaheen’s leadership role in this year’s PSL tournament.

As the PCB removed Shaheen Afridi as a captain just after one bad series, many fans lashed out at the poor management of the board.

However, the PCB managed to stabilize the criticism by clarifying that they decided to ensure that Shaheen remains as Pakistan’s core pace bowler. Thereby, considering the workload management, the board doesn’t want him to be pressurised ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Earlier, the Pakistan team in the T20 World Cup under Babar Azam’s captaincy were the semi-finalist in 2021 and the runner-up in 2022.

Finally, Babar Azam after 4-and-half months will continue his captaincy in the 5-match T20I home series against New Zealand followed by the T20I series against Ireland (3 matches) and England (4 matches) before they start their T20 World Cup campaign in June 2024.

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