Assistant coach Azhar Mahmood reveals the truth on Babar-Shaheen rift

The rumoured rift between Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and former skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi has garnered significant attention. 

Babar Azam Shaheen Afridi?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

Pakistan assistant coach Azhar Mahmood refuted claims of a rift between skipper Babar Azam and star pacer Shaheen Afridi. Notably, the Men in Green suffered a humiliating loss to India in their second game of the 2024 T20 World Cup, despite restricting Rohit Sharma and Co. to a modest 119. Following the same, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram took a dig at them after the loss and hinted that the pair were not talking to each other.

"There are players who don’t want to talk to each other. This is international cricket, and you play for your country. Make these players sit at home," Wasim Akram said earlier after the loss.

Also Read: Why did India select four spinners for T20 World Cup 2024?

However, the 49-year-old coach was seen dismissing Wasim Akram's claims ahead of their clash against Canada. Azhar revealed that Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi are talking to each other, and both are very good friends. The Rawalpindi-born coach further stated that the entire team, including all the players and support staff, took responsibility for the poor start of the game in the ongoing marquee event.

“Wasim must have said that, but I don’t know. I didn’t see it. Shaheen and Babar are definitely talking, they are good friends. They are both part of the Pakistan team. We have not lost because of anyone, it is our mistake too. We are not hiding any players, everyone is there. Everything is there. I said earlier that we are a team. Obviously, we’re sitting here, and it’s our responsibility. We’re not delivering. That’s why I’m sitting here,"  Azhar Mahmood said in the pre-match conference.

Meanwhile, Babar Azam and Co. suffered a defeat against the USA in their opening game. The Men in Green were later toppled by arch-rivals India in their next game. However, the Pakistani side defeated Canada in their third game and kept their hope alive with a win on June 11 in New York.

Pakistan has enjoyed an impressive run in the previous two T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022, with a semi-final and final run under the leadership of Babar Azam. Notably, they will once again be looking to enter the playoffs of the 2024 T20 World Cup. The side will be next seen in action on June 16, where they will be looking to outclass the Irish camp if weather permits. Florida is experiencing heavy rainfall and flood warnings have been issued forcing the game between Sri Lanka and Nepal to be abandoned. If Pakistan's fixture against Ireland is washed out, they will be knocked out of the tournament,