Curated By: Aakash Biswas
Last Updated: September 19, 2023, 11:57 IST
Pakistan suffered a demoralising exit from the Asia Cup 2023 after losing to India and Sri Lanka in the Super Fours. But before they could overcome the twin blows suffered in the continental event, several media reports claimed a verbal spat between skipper Babar Azam and star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.
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It was learned that the Pakistan skipper questioned the role of senior players in the tournament which prompted Afridi to interrupt Babar, asking not to blame those who did well. In reply, the leader of the men in green stated that he is very well aware of who did a decent job and who was disappointing.
However, according to Cricket Pakistan, a senior member of the Pakistan Cricket team has quashed the reports of a verbal spat between Babar and Afridi.
“The team’s sole focus is on cricket, and we are not concerned about the critics. Losing a match gives our critics an opportunity to voice their opinions, but these are merely negative speculations,” the player was quoted as saying.
The cricketer, whose identity wasn’t revealed, further said a team meeting did take place but the discussion was a productive one rather than argumentative.
“In the team meeting, everyone shared their thoughts, but there is no truth to the rumours of a verbal altercation or the coaching staff needing to intervene. Everyone left the meeting together, and many teammates travelled back to Pakistan on the same flight,” he added.
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Pakistan were the first team to qualify for the second round of the continental event where they defeated Bangladesh in the first game in Lahore. But they lost the rhythm after suffering a 228-run defeat to India in Colombo. Defeating Sri Lanka was their only chance to redeem themselves but Dasun Shanaka & Co managed to outsmart the World’s No. 1 ODI team and stormed into the finals.
The Babar Azam-led side will now head into the World Cup 2023, starting October 5 in India. Before beginning their campaign against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6, Pakistan will play a couple of warm-up games against New Zealand (on September 29) and Australia (on October 3) at the same venue.