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Pakistan Captaincy Controversy: Shaheen Afridi Still Upset, Meets PCB Chief – Report

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The Pakistan captaincy controversy refuses to die down. A day after Babar Azam was again appointed as skipper for white-ball international cricket, the ousted T20I captain Shaheen Shah Afridi reportedly still has concerns about the manner of his sacking.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Mohsin Naqvi met Shaheen at the national team’s training camp in Kakul, Abbottabad on Monday (April 1, 2024). An ESPNcricinfo report suggests the left-arm seamer has been mollified, but is still uneasy with how the entire saga was handled.

The report states that Shaheen was particularly miffed when PCB put out a statement that included quotes in his name, which were neither approved nor said by him. The quotes read: “I will always cherish the memories and the opportunity. As a team player, it is my duty to back our captain, Babar Azam. I have played under his captaincy and have nothing but respect for him. I will try to help him on and off the field. We are all one. Our aim is the same, to help Pakistan become the best team in the world.”

As Shaheen apparently had nothing to do with those quotes, the report adds that PCB has admitted to the fast bowler that an internal error was made by the board. Though Shaheen still believes the way he was removed as captain was “neither fair nor transparent”, the report claims, his equation with long-standing close friend Babar is cordial.

Furthermore, there seem to be no worries regarding Shaheen’s availability for Pakistan’s upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand, as per the report. The series commences on April 18 in Rawalpindi and concludes on April 27 in Lahore.

Earlier, Shaheen’s father-in-law Shahid Afridi had expressed his disagreement with the decision to replace Shaheen with Babar, saying that if at all a change was needed, then Mohammad Rizwan was a more suitable candidate.

“I am surprised by the decision by very experienced cricketers in the selection committee. I still believe that if change was necessary than Rizwan was the best choice! But since now the decision has been made I offer my full support and best wishes to team Pakistan and Babar Azam,” Shahid wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

Babar was announced as white-ball skipper months after he had quit as captain from Tests, ODI and T20Is, after Pakistan’s dismal showing at the 2023 ODI World Cup in India in November. He had stepped down after the then PCB chief Zaka Ashraf told him he would no longer be captain in white-ball formats and would only lead the Test team.

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