Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam
Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam. PC- AFP

Babar Azam, who was reappointed as Pakistan’s white-ball captain ahead of the upcoming New Zealand T20I series, has opened up about his relationship with former skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Notably, Babar Azam had been captain of the Pakistan team in all formats since 2020 and led the Men in Green to the finals of the Asia Cup 2022 and T20 World Cup the same year. However, poor performance in Tests at home and abysmal outing in ICC World Cup 2023 led to Babar losing his captaincy in all forms.

The PCB then appointed Shan Masood as Test captain and Shaheen Afridi as the T20I captain of the Pakistan team. However, Shaheen’s first outing as captain in New Zealand resulted in Pakistan losing the five-match series 1-4.

The new regime in Pakistan led to a change in PCB as well, leading to new chief Mohsin Naqvi bringing back Babar Azam as white-ball captain with an eye on the T20 World Cup tournament. How the captained change was done sparked controversy, as Afridi was enraged by a statement on PCB’s website that included his remarks, which he did not provide.

Shaheen Afridi and my bond goes back a long way: Babar Azam

Ahead of Pakistan’s T20I series vs New Zealand, Babar held his first press conference in his second captaincy stint. Speaking about his relationship with Shaheen Afridi, the batter reassured fans that they were on good terms.

“I want to make clear that Shaheen [Afridi] and my bond is not recent, it goes back a long way. We support each other in every situation. Our aim is to put Pakistan first, and how to put Pakistan’s name up in lights. We don’t think of individual glory, and thankfully, those elements are not present in my team,” Babar said as per PCB statement.

The New Zealand series will be a litmus test for Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup, which begins in June. Pakistan finished second in the 2022 T20 World Cup and will try to win the trophy this time.

Also Read: Zimbabwe Cricket appoints Courtney Walsh as a coaching consultant for women’s team​