Babar Azam not ‘best choice’ as Pakistan T20I captain: Shahid Afridi says he’s ‘surprised’ by PCB’s decision

Former Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi has weighed in on the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision regarding the team’s captaincy. This comes after Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is married to Shahid Afridi’s daughter Ansha, was removed from his role as captain by the PCB. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on March 31, “unanimously” removed Shaheen Shah Afridi as the T20I captain. With the T20 World Cup starting on June 2, the board reappointed Babar Azam to lead the team. It was under Babar Azam’s captaincy in 2022 that Pakistan reached the WC final.

The PCB also appointed Babar as the ODI captain. Pakistan never appointed a new ODI captain since Babar’s exit as the skipper.

“Babar Azam appointed as white-ball captain. Following unanimous recommendation from the PCB’s selection committee, Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi has appointed Babar Azam as white-ball (ODI and T20I) captain of the Pakistan men’s cricket team,” the PCB announced on X (formerly Twitter).

Shaheen Shah Afridi led Pakistan only in one series (against New Zealand) and lost it 1-4. At the same time, his Lahore Qalandars had a miserable season in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this year. The team managed to win only one out of the 10 games it played in the T20 tournament. Babar Azam, on the other hand, scored 447 runs in PSL 2024 and became the highest scorer.

Afridi has said that, according to him, Babar Azam is not “the best choice” to be Pakistan’s T20I captain.

“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!,” he tweeted.

“But since now the decision has been made I offer my full support and best wishes to team Pakistan and Babar Azam,” he added.

There have been speculations about Babar Azam taking over the captaincy in all three formats for Pakistan. The red-ball team is now led by Shan Masood. The left-handed batter has led his national team in one Test series (against Australia). Pakistan lost all three matches in the series.

Babar Azam’s next challenge

Babar Azam will lead Pakistan in a five-match cricket series at home against New Zealand. The T20I series starts on April 18.

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Published: 01 Apr 2024, 11:37 AM IST

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