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Pakistan cricket team manager denies rift speculation between Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam

Amidst rumours of discord between Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam, Pakistan's cricket team manager, Wahab Riaz, refutes the speculation, emphasising team unity ahead of the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

Cricket Pakistan cricket team manager denies rift speculation between Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam osf
First Published Apr 10, 2024, 7:11 PM IST

Amid swirling speculation regarding a supposed rift between star players Shaheen Shah Afridi and Babar Azam, Pakistan men's national team manager, Wahab Riaz, has unequivocally dismissed such claims. The conjecture arose following Shaheen Afridi's brief stint as captain during Pakistan's T20I series in New Zealand earlier this year, where the team endured a disappointing 1-4 loss.

Shaheen Afridi was entrusted with the T20I captaincy following Pakistan's lackluster performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup, with the aim of preparing for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in June. However, concerns over his leadership surfaced following Lahore Qalandars' subpar performance in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), prompting his replacement by Babar Azam.

Amid the leadership transition, media reports suggested that Shaheen Afridi harboured discontent over the manner of his removal from captaincy, fueled further by cryptic social media posts. Nonetheless, with the announcement of the squad for the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, Wahab Riaz has refuted these rumours.

Addressing the media, Riaz emphasised the camaraderie and unity within the team, dispelling any notions of discord between Shaheen and Babar. He underscored the importance of verifying information before dissemination, urging responsible journalism in the cricketing sphere.

"The atmosphere within the team is as cohesive as ever, with players united in their collective goal of representing Pakistan," stated Riaz. "Any rumours suggesting otherwise are baseless and unfounded."

With the team's focus firmly set on upcoming fixtures, Riaz expressed confidence in the abilities of both Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam to contribute significantly to Pakistan's success on the field. As the squad prepares for the forthcoming challenges, unity and solidarity remain paramount.

The squad for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand comprises a blend of experienced players and promising talents, under the leadership of Babar Azam. With a shared determination to excel, the team looks forward to showcasing their prowess and bringing glory to Pakistan cricket.

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