Shahid Afridi backs Shaheen as T20 captain


Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has voiced his backing for Shaheen Shah Afridi amidst the uncertainty surrounding his tenure as the T20I captain of the national cricket team.

Recent reports have emerged that Shaheen might be replaced ahead of the T20 World Cup with Babar Azam assuming the role again.

Afridi, who is Shaheen’s father-in-law, backed the 24-year-old and stated that a captain should be given ample time to prove his mettle.

“I think that if you have appointed someone as captain (Shaheen) and given him the responsibility then give him time as well,” Afridi told the media on Tuesday.

“If you change the captain then either the decision to appoint him was wrong or the decision to change him now is wrong,” he added.

Remember, Shaheen assumed the role of T20I captain following Babar’s departure, subsequent to their disappointing performance at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.

However, the left-arm pacer encountered a challenging start to his captaincy, commencing with a five-match series away against New Zealand in January this year.

Pakistan faced a 4-1 series defeat, and Shaheen’s future as a captain immediately came under scrutiny.

The situation deteriorated for the 23-year-old in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season nine as two-time champions Lahore Qalandars, under his captaincy, managed to win only one out of 10 matches and finished at the bottom of the table.

The Qalandars’ disastrous PSL 9 campaign ignited speculations that Shaheen Afridi may be replaced as the T20I skipper.

Meanwhile, the newly-appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Mohsin Naqvi addressed the ongoing captaincy saga and revealed that the new selection committee would decide regarding the national team’s leadership.

“Even I don’t know who the captain will be,” Naqvi said. “Whether Shaheen continues or a new captain comes in will be determined after the fitness camp [starting on Monday].

“There are a number of technical factors we will consider, the details of which I do not want to go into. We want a long-term solution, whether it’s Shaheen or a new man. And then we intend to stick by that man, instead of just changing a captain just because you lose a match or captain,” he added.

It must be noted that Pakistan host New Zealand for a five-match series from April 18. The Men in Green will head to England and Ireland for four and two T20Is respectively ahead of the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies.


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