Shaheen Afridi posts cryptic Babar tweet following Pakistan T20I captaincy change reports
Shaheen Shah Afridi has posted a cryptic tweet seemingly in support of Babar Azam following reports that the fast bowler had been offered the captaincy of the Pakistan T20I side.
There was suggestion in the build-up to Pakistan’s squad announcement for a T20I series against Afghanistan that several players, including Babar, would be rested, with it unclear who would take charge in his stead. Further to that, Geo News reporter Arfa Feroz Sake reported that Shaheen had been offered the chance to captain Pakistan against Afghanistan without consulting Babar, or vice-captain Shadab Khan.
The squad has been announced today (March 13) without Babar or Shaheen in it, and with Shadab named as captain. Yesterday (March 12), Shaheen posted a cryptic tweet containing a Pakistan flag emoji accompanied by a picture of him and Babar, with Babar front and centre wearing a Pakistan cap. This has been widely interpreted as a show of support for the current skipper.
— Shaheen Shah Afridi (@iShaheenAfridi) March 12, 2023
Shaheen’s captaincy has been praised during the Pakistan Super League (PSL), with the left-arm quick taking Lahore Qalandars to top spot in the group stage. Babar’s Peshawar Zalmi have finished fourth, with Shadab’s Islamabad United third. As Pakistan captain, Babar has led his country to the semi-final and the final of the last two T20 World Cups.
Speaking yesterday, Shadab indicated that neither he nor Babar had been told that anyone would be rested for the series, speaking after Islamabad United’s latest PSL game as quoted by Geo News. “It is not known whether [Mohammad] Rizwan, Babar or I are being rested in the series against Afghanistan, I am hearing this from you,” he said. “If there was such a thing, we would have been told.”
The PSL play-offs will take place this week, with Pakistan’s T20I series against Afghanistan beginning on March 24. The series will take place in the UAE.
Pakistan T20I squad to face Afghanistan: Shadab Khan (c), Abdullah Shafique, Ihsanullah, Azam Khan, Imad Wasim, Zaman Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Haris (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Tayyab Tahir, Shan Masood.