'Never lobbied for Shaheen's captaincy' - Shahid Afridi opens up on the captaincy saga in Pakistan cricket
After a disappointing World Cup campaign that culminated in a fifth-place finish in the group stage, Babar Azam decided to step down from the Pakistan captaincy across all formats. The team led by Babar suffered significant defeats against India and Afghanistan, along with close losses to Australia and South Africa, ultimately concluding the tournament with 8 points in nine matches.
Although the appointment of an ODI captain is pending, the Pakistan Cricket Board swiftly confirmed Shaheen Afridi as the leader for T20Is while Shan Masood will take the helm in the longest format. Subsequent to this announcement, speculations arose in Pakistan regarding the alleged influence of former captain Shahid Afridi, who happens to be Shaheen's father-in-law.
Reports of tensions within the dressing room between Babar and Shaheen, dating back to the Asia Cup elimination in September, fueled rumors of a possible rift. Contrary to these speculations, Shahid Afridi has explicitly stated that he did not advocate for Shaheen's captaincy.
Shahid Afridi reveals his preference instead of Shaheen
Instead, Shahid expressed a preference for Mohammad Rizwan to assume the leadership role in white-ball formats. Moreover, Afridi voiced his support for Babar to retain his captaincy in Test matches.
“Shaheen as captain is entirely Mohammad Hafeez’s and the PCB chairman’s decision. I have nothing to do with that. I never lobbied for Shaheen's captaincy. In fact, I have always wanted to keep Shaheen away from the captaincy,” Afridi was quoted as saying on Samaa TV.
“I was never in favour of Babar Azam's removal. I also told the PCB chairman that he should not remove Babar from the captaincy. I wanted Mohammad Rizwan to be the white-ball captain and Babar to be the captain of the Test team,” he further said.