Will Shaheen Afridi's bowling form suffer post T20I captaincy axe?

Umar Gul advised Shaheen Afridi to focus on his bowling

Will Shaheen Afridi's bowling form suffer post T20I captaincy axe? PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan pacer Umar Gul has expressed his support for Shaheen Afridi after being removed from the captaincy before the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand.

Babar Azam, who had stepped down from the captaincy across all formats after Pakistan's disappointing performance in the ODI World Cup 2023 in India, has been reappointed as the captain of the white-ball (ODI & T20I) team.

Azam will lead the team in the T20I series against New Zealand, Ireland, and England, as well as in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and West Indies.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Gul highlighted the professional demeanor of cricket and the significance of gracefully accepting decisions made by the board.

He acknowledged Afridi's positive mindset, noting that such decisions will not affect his performance.

"Being a professional, his performance shouldn’t be affected by this decision, and I still believe Shaheen will take this positively; he is never negative, and obviously, it's the board's decision that should be accepted,” Gul said.

“Everyone wants to perform for the team, whether as a captain or as a player, so I don't think Shaheen will take this too seriously," he added.

Additionally, Gul highlighted the challenging aspect of captaincy, which involves a wide range of duties beyond strategic game planning.  He also recommended that the fast bowler to focus on his performance.

"Shaheen is Pakistan's main bowler; he should focus on his performance, and he will get more time for that. Captaincy is not an easy task; you have a lot of pressure on you; you have to look after many things, look after the players, face the media, there are many decisions on and off the field, so you have additional pressure, so I don't think Shaheen will take this negatively. He should focus on his performance, and just like he has performed for Pakistan in the past, he should perform in the future as well," he said.