Rashid Latif makes massive allegations against Babar Azam after Shaheen Afridi’s captaincy exit

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Former cricketer Rashid Latif suggested that Babar Azam‘s reacceptance of the white-ball cricket captaincy may have been motivated by a desire to counter Shaheen Afridi’s previous actions during his tenure.

Babar Azam’s earlier decision

Last year, Babar relinquished his role as the captain of the Pakistan team after they failed to progress to the semi-finals of the ODI World Cup held in India. Babar faced criticism following Pakistan’s inability to secure a top-four finish despite starting the tournament with victories over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Babar’s personal batting form during the World Cup was also underwhelming, as he failed to register a single century. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Babar announced his decision to step down from leadership positions across all three formats through a post on his social media platforms. Subsequently, Shaheen was appointed as the T20I captain, while Shan Masood took charge of Test cricket.

Shaheen Afridi’s stint: Challenges and criticisms as T20I captain

Shaheen faced challenges during his captaincy, notably during the series against New Zealand where Pakistan suffered a 1-4 defeat. Additionally, Lahore Qalandars, under his leadership, failed to qualify for the playoffs in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2024. Consequently, Babar was reinstated as the T20I captain with Masood retained his position as the Test cricket captain.

Also READ: PCB relieves Shaheen Afridi of T20I captaincy and re-appoints Babar Azam as Pakistan skipper; also confirms schedule for Ireland tour

Rashid Latif casts doubt on Babar Azam

Speaking on PTV Sports, former Pakistan wicketkeeper Rashid Latif expressed his opinion that despite their friendship, Babar’s return as captain could be interpreted as a response to Shaheen’s tenure. Rashid further suggested that Afridi should offer more support to Mohammad Rizwan and Babar, akin to what Shadab Khan did.

“Shadab Khan made a smart statement when he lost the series against Afghanistan. He stood up and said, ‘Without Babar and Rizwan, this team isn’t complete. That means I’m not the captain. The same I was expecting from Shaheen when Babar was removed. If Shaheen had taken that step that day, he wouldn’t be seeing all this today. No matter how much friendship there is, Babar has taken revenge [against Shaheen],” Latif said.

Babar is set to lead Pakistan in a 5-match T20I series against New Zealand scheduled from April 18 to April 27. The first three T20Is will take place at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on April 18, 20 and 21. Subsequently, both teams will move to Lahore for the remaining two T20Is on April 25 and 27.

Also READ: New Zealand announces T20I squad for Pakistan tour, Michael Bracewell to captain the team

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