During the ICC World Cup 2023 conference held in Lahore, Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, responded to recent reports suggesting a “war of words” between him and fast bowler Shaheen Afridi.
Babar Azam set the record straight by underlining the respect he receives from all team members, including Shaheen Afridi, and emphasized the robust camaraderie that exists among them.
Furthermore, Babar Azam noted that Iftikhar Ahmed regards him as an elder brother, highlighting the strong bond within the team. He sought to assure everyone that there was no substantive tension between him and Shaheen Afridi. Babar Azam acknowledged that in the aftermath of closely contested matches, disagreements might arise during team meetings. However, he stressed that these disagreements should not be exaggerated.
Babar Azam wanted to reiterate that the core of their relationship remained intact, marked by mutual respect and a family-like bond. He even went on to emphasize that their connection is founded on caring for and supporting each other.
Babar’s statements exemplify his leadership qualities and his commitment to preserving a harmonious team atmosphere. With such a solid bond, Pakistan’s cricket team is well-positioned to deliver outstanding performances in the upcoming World Cup.
Playing for first time in India
The captain, who will be playing in India for the first time in his years-long career, said he was excited and not worried about the conditions in the neighbouring nation.
Only two players from Pakistan’s current squad have travelled to India for cricket before — Mohammad Nawaz, who was part of Pakistan’s 2016 T20 World Cup squad and Agha Salman, who was in the Lahore Lions’ squad for the Champions League T20.
“I’m very excited to play in Ahmedabad. It is the biggest stadium in the world and will be jam-packed for the India-Pakistan clash,” he said.
“I have spoken to former cricketers about the condition and they are not that different,” he said.