World Cup 2023: Shahid Afridi criticises Babar Azam’s captaincy

Babar Azam

KARACHI: Former cricketer Shahid Afridi expressed his disappointment on Monday, asserting that Pakistan’s cricket captain, Babar Azam, failed to live up to expectations in his leadership role.

Speaking at an event in Karachi, Afridi, surrounded by cricket veterans including Misbah Ul Haq, Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, and Umar Gul, lamented that despite Babar’s individual prowess, he fell short as a captain.

The Green Shirts, under Babar Azam’s captaincy, were ranked fifth on the World Cup 2023 points table and faced an early exit from the tournament, losing five out of nine matches and delivering an underwhelming performance in all cricketing facets.

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“We believed that in his three to four years [of captaincy] Babar would have groomed and would’ve proved himself as a captain and a leader. But this didn’t happen, we [have] seen a lot of mistakes [from him],” Afridi stated, stressing that Babar’s position as captain was never threatened despite the team’s struggles.

“A leader should be steadfast and must know how to lead the team… a leader doesn’t have one or two [favourite] players,” Afridi remarked, highlighting the necessity for a captain to ensure consensus among teammates.

Drawing a comparison with former captain Younis Khan, Afridi stressed the importance of inclusive decision-making. “Younis Khan didn’t make unilateral decisions [during his captaincy], he used to take all of us in confidence and seek advice [regarding his decisions],” he added.

Babar Azam, the right-hand batter, has faced scrutiny for Pakistan’s disappointing World Cup run and their premature exit from the tournament. As the team returns to Pakistan in groups, concerns over Babar’s captaincy continue to dominate cricket discussions.

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