PCB holds emergency meeting after Shaheen Afridi denies comments supporting Babar Azam

New Delhi,UPDATED: April 1, 2024 at 6:08 p.m. IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is embroiled in crisis talks after a controversial statement involving Shaheen Shah Afridi, the fast bowler who led Pakistan to a 4-1 defeat in a Twenty20 series against New Zealand. Afridi reportedly denied making a statement supporting Babar Azam as captain, triggering a major outcry and prompting urgent discussions within the CPC. The controversy began when the PCB announced the reinstatement of Babar Azam as white-ball captain, replacing Shaheen Afridi after less than five months at the helm. A statement attributed to Afridi on the PCB website claimed that he had “nothing but respect” for Babar Azam and expressed his willingness to support him on and off the field. However, a source close to Afridi quickly refuted the claim, stating that Afridi did not accept the statement and was in fact upset at being replaced as captain after just one T20I series.

“This is not Shaheen’s statement and he has contacted PCB to clarify this point,” the source told AFP. “Shaheen will meet PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi on Monday to clarify this point.” The situation has worsened to the extent that Afridi is expected to meet PCB president Mohsin Naqvi to clarify his position. This encounter comes against the backdrop of Shaheen Afridi’s recent performances, including leading Lahore Qalandars to last place in the Pakistan T20 Super League. With the T20 World Cup approaching in June, the timing of this leadership controversy could not be more problematic for the PCB. The PCB’s explanation for Afridi’s removal as T20I captain adds another layer to this complex situation. Described as a “strategic move” to manage Afridi’s workload, the decision drew criticism from various quarters, including former captain Shahid Afridi. The PCB insists the change was necessary to ensure the welfare and peak performance of its players, especially the injury-prone fast bowlers.

As Pakistan prepares for its upcoming matches, including a high-stakes match against arch-rivals India in the T20 World Cup, the team’s dynamics under this new but familiar leadership will be closely watched. Both Afridi and Azam have expressed their commitment to the team’s success, but recent events have undoubtedly added an element of uncertainty to Pakistan’s cricket landscape.

The T20 World Cup takes place in the United States and the West Indies in June.

Published by:

Saurabh Kumar

Published on:

April 1, 2024

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