Premier Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi has quashed the rumours of a rift between him and captain Babar Azam with a social media post on Tuesday. There were reports of a rift between the two Pakistan superstars after their team’s ouster from the Asia Cup 2023 from the Super 4 stage. According to reports from Pakistani media, Babar had a heated argument with Shaheen in the dressing room after the side’s defeat to Sri Lanka.
A report in BolNews stated that the Pakistan skipper expressed his displeasure with the performances of the senior players. Babar urged them to perform better. Meanwhile, it claimed that Shaheen retaliated and told Babar that he should at least praise those players who had bowled and batted well.
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However, Shaheen on Tuesday put a rest to all the rumours on social media by posting a photo with Babar. He captioned the photo, “Family”.
However, according to Cricket Pakistan, a senior member of the Pakistan Cricket team also 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 started the Asia Cup as one of the favourites and registered an emphatic win over Nepal in the tournament opener. They also troubled the Indian batters in the rain-affected group stage match which ended in no result. However, they crumbled under pressure in the Super 4 stage and were beaten by India by 288 runs, their worst defeat to the Men in Blue in ODI cricket. That was followed by another narrow loss to Sri Lanka which eliminated Babar’s side.
Meanwhile, Naseem Shah has reportedly suffered a shoulder injury which could rule out the 20-year-old from the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup. Haris Rauf’s fitness has also been a key area of concern for Babar.