“Everyone gives me respect…”: Babar Azam breaks silence on his alleged verbal spat with Shaheen Afridi

Reports of rift emerged in the media between Babar and Shaheen after Pakistan's Asia Cup debacle.

Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi | GettyPakistan failed to qualify for the Asia Cup 2023 final despite a strong start to their campaign. In the group stage, they registered a crushing 238-run victory over Nepal while their marquee encounter against India was abandoned due to rain.

The Men in Green started the Super 4 round with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh but the 228-run thrashing at the hands of arch-rivals India dented their confidence.

The narrow two-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka knocked them out of the competition. The Babar Azam-led side finished the Super 4 table at the bottom following India’s loss to Bangladesh.

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s exit from the continental tournament, the reports of rift emerged in the media between skipper Babar and star pacer Shaheen Afridi.

According to reports in the Pakistan media, a heated verbal spat occurred between Babar and Shaheen in a post-match meeting after losing to Sri Lanka.

However, Babar Azam on Tuesday (September 26) denied the reports, saying that the players love each other like a family.

Babar was addressing a pre-departure press conference in Lahore before travelling to India for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.

During his interaction with the media, a journalist asked, “There were reports regarding Shaheen Afridi after the Asia Cup debacle so the fans want to know how good your bonding is with Shaheen Afridi and how much he respects you?”

In reply, the Pakistan captain said: “Everyone gives me respect…. and see when you lose close matches then certain [disagreements] do take place in team meetings but this was taken out of context that there was a duel between us."

"There’s nothing like this. We have the same respect for each other and will remain the same. We love each other like a family," he added.

The Pakistan cricket team is due to arrive in India for the ODI World Cup on Wednesday (September 27). They will play a couple of warm-up matches against New Zealand and Australia in Hyderabad on September 29 and on October 3, respectively.

Pakistan will open their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on October 6 at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad.


By Salman Anjum - 26 Sep, 2023

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