The aftermath of Pakistan’s early go out from the Asia Cup 2023 has left the cricketing global in shock and sadness. The -wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in a vital Super four come upon at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, marked the quit of Pakistan’s journey in the match, triggering a storm of grievance and controversy. At the middle of this turmoil is Babar Azam, Pakistan’s captain, whose leadership and selection-making have come underneath extreme scrutiny.
Following the gut-wrenching loss to Sri Lanka, reports surfaced in Pakistan’s media of a heated exchange between Babar Azam and the talented fast bowler, Shaheen Afridi. The exchange highlighted the evident tension within the Pakistan dressing room, raising concerns about team dynamics and morale.
In a surprising turn of events, Shahid Afridi, the legendary former all-rounder and Shahid Afridi’s father-in-law, offered counsel to Babar Azam in the wake of the controversy. He suggested that Babar should seek guidance from the team director and coach to enhance his captaincy skills. Shahid Afridi emphasized the importance of making tough decisions and not fearing losses, emphasizing that learning from setbacks is an integral part of leadership.
Here’s what Shahid Afridi told Samaa TV: “We are going to the World Cup. All the seniors, including head coach, Mickey, have to talk to him [Babar Azam]. Make him strong. Don’t fear making tough decisions. Don’t worry about losses. Either you win, or you learn.”
Afridi urged Babar to reach out to the senior players in the dressing room for support and guidance, as their experience could prove invaluable in helping him improve as a captain.
Former all-rounder further stated, “My issue is, you’ve been leading the side for 3 years. Come on. There are professionals around you. Talk to them and improve your captaincy. You’re a big player, but you would want people to also remember you as captain.”
Shahid Afridi also shed mild on a breakdown in communique for the duration of his short stint as leader selector on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He discovered that there had been conflicting selections and reviews from both the captain and the head train, main to confusion and disarray. This revelation underscores the need for effective communique and collaboration within the team control.
Afridi concluded, “I came in as chief selector for a month. There were so many problems. The captain had one choice, the coach had other choices. Both were giving me different reports, whilst players were giving me different reports altogether. The communication was so broken.”
As Pakistan prepares to travel to India for the ICC ODI World Cup 2023, they face not only the challenge of regrouping after the Asia Cup disappointment but also the setback of losing fast bowler Naseem Shah due to a shoulder injury. The team will need to address internal issues, rebuild team spirit, and refine their strategies before the prestigious tournament begins.