Wahab reveals equation between Babar, Shaheen after T20I captaincy chaos

Shaheen Afridi had posted a cryptic message on his official Instagram account last week, after being abruptly relieved of his role as captain of the Pakistan cricket team in T20Is.

Wahab reveals equation between Babar, Shaheen after T20I captaincy chaos PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan selector Wahab Riaz on Tuesday shed light on the dynamics between Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi in the aftermath of the T20I captaincy turmoil.

Last week, Afridi had expressed his sentiments cryptically on Instagram after being unexpectedly relieved of his captaincy role in the Pakistan cricket team's T20Is.

Afridi had taken over the T20I captaincy reins after Babar Azam decided to step down from captaincy across all formats following Pakistan's disappointing exit from the 2023 ODI World Cup. However, Afridi's tenure as captain began with a disappointing 4-1 series loss to New Zealand at home earlier this year. Despite this, his leadership stint was abruptly cut short after just one series, with Babar Azam reinstated as Pakistan's white-ball captain on March 31.

Reports indicate that Afridi was dissatisfied with the lack of communication from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding his removal from the captaincy position. Additionally, he was perturbed by a statement issued after his removal, which contained words that were not authorized or spoken by him. The PCB acknowledged this mistake internally and conveyed it to Afridi.

Addressing the speculation surrounding tensions between Babar and Shaheen, Wahab Riaz remarked, "There was so much speculation in the media which gave a perception that if we had not gone to Kakul, they [Babar and Shaheen] might have hit each other." 

“When we went there [Kakul], we saw that there was a lot of unity among the players. They used to play snooker together regularly after iftar. They would watch matches together and engage in cricket discussions and there was a really good environment. Their main aim is to win matches for Pakistan and you will see them doing that in future,” he added.

Regarding the decision to recommend Babar as the T20I captain over Shaheen, Wahab cited the intention to manage Shaheen Afridi's workload as the primary reason. 

“We wanted to manage Shaheen Afridi's workload because he's our main strike bowler and we need him completely fit for the World Cup. Babar Azam is the most experienced captain in this squad, obviously, he hasn't won any trophy but still, due to his experience, we thought Babar is the right choice for captaincy at this moment," Wahab concluded.