“I am sorry to say, but this is a pathetic…”: Shahid Afridi Slammed PCB Chief Zaka Ashraf After Babar Azam’s Private Chat Leak

In a riveting World Cup 2023 encounter at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the Pakistan cricket team, led by the dynamic Babar Azam, emerged victorious against Bangladesh with a stunning seven-wicket win. While the players celebrated on the field, off-the-field controversies and disputes cast a shadow on their World Cup journey. 

Babar Azam’s journey in the ICC World Cup 2023 has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Pakistan’s performance in the tournament could have been better, with four losses and only three wins, leaving their semi-final aspirations hanging by a thread. The team’s inconsistent performance raised questions about Babar’s future as captain.

The controversy began to unravel with the alleged leaked chat between Babar Azam and Salman Naseer, the Chief Operating Officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). This chat surfaced after Pakistan’s string of losses, fueling speculations about Babar’s potential removal from the captaincy.

The PCB’s handling of the situation added to the turmoil. The cricket board released multiple statements during the crisis, but these statements only fueled the speculations and failed to provide clarity.

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif further escalated the situation by boldly claiming that Pakistan cricketers had not received their pay for five months. PCB officials were unresponsive to Babar Azam’s attempts to contact them. This revelation intensified the ongoing chaos.

ARY News, a Pakistani news channel, took the controversy to the next level by airing a screenshot of a chat that was claimed to be between Babar Azam and Salman Naseer. In this chat, Naseer inquired if Babar had attempted to contact PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf.

The leaking of this personal exchange between Babar and the PCB official drew sharp criticism from former Pakistan cricketers. Waqar Younis described it as “pathetic” on social media, while Shahid Afridi expressed his displeasure over tarnishing the nation’s image.

Shahid Afridi, known for his straightforward and candid nature, condemned the leak on SAMAA TV. He stated, “It is a shameful move. We are defaming our nation ourselves. We are defaming our players ourselves. How can you leak someone’s private messages, that too of Captain Babar Azam?”

“I saw Rashid Latif reporting a tiff between Babar Azam and Zaka Ashraf. Babar was calling him, but he wasn’t answering. To counter those reports, this was done, but it is uncalled for how this was leaked in the media. I think Shoaib Jatt (A Pakistani journalist) brought it up. Why did he do so? Did the chairman ask him to do so?” the former Pakistan captain added. Even if the chairman has done this, I am sorry to say, but this is a pathetic act,” he said.

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Afridi’s criticism extended to PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf, who was accused of involving media houses in the controversy. Afridi emphasized that Ashraf should focus on his role as PCB chairman, deliver on expectations, and address the pressing issues within Pakistan cricket.

“Zaka Ashraf sahab kisi club k chairman nahi hai. Woh PCB ke chairman hai. (Zaka Ashraf is not running a club. He’s the chairman of PCB). He should keep a lot of things in mind. You are calling the owners of a media house and saying that somebody is saying things about you. For God’s sake, do your job. Deliver what is expected from you. They are talking about you because you are giving them the chance. Just do your job. The team is playing in the World Cup, and you are giving one statement after another. Sometimes, you are talking about Babar, and sometimes about another player or support staff. For starters, get a hold of your chair and try to fulfill what is expected from you. Focus on the problems that need to be addressed. Forget about what is being said about you. Just do your job, Zaka Ashraf Sahab,” an agitated Afridi said.

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