"Respect should remain constant..": Babar Azam breaks his silence on spat with Shaheen Afridi
Just a fortnight ago, Pakistan suffered an exit from the 2023 Asia Cup after facing crushing defeats against India and Sri Lanka during the Super4 stage. However, the focal point of the Asia Cup exit revolved around an alleged altercation between captain Babar Azam and star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the dressing room.
In the aftermath of Pakistan's heart-wrenching loss to Sri Lanka in a rain-interrupted tie which cost them a spot in the final, reports emerged detailing a conflict between Babar and Shaheen in the dressing room. Babar had cautioned his teammates against viewing themselves as "superstars," emphasizing that their performance in the World Cup would be the ultimate judge of their worth. It was at this juncture that Shaheen interjected, urging Babar to acknowledge the commendable efforts of those who performed well in the continental event.
This incident sparked a rift, necessitating the intervention of other senior players like Mohammad Rizwan to calm the captain down before the players left the stadium for the team hotel.
Babar Azam clears any air of ambiguity
During the pre-departure press conference held on Tuesday in Lahore, Babar was queried about the incident. He clarified that in the aftermath of closely contested matches, the dressing room typically engages in a constructive discussion. However, he lamented that such scenes often get misconstrued, giving rise to unfounded rumors.
"Respect is given to everyone. You see, whenever the match is close and we lose, it's just a regular meeting, but sometimes it's portrayed as if we had a fight. It shouldn't be like that. Respect should remain constant for everyone. We love each other as much as we do our family," he said.
Previously, Shaheen had taken to X to share a picture of the two, accompanied by a one-word caption: "family," followed by a heart emoticon.