‘Enough chances for Babar’: Shahid Afridi wants real surgery in team

This combination of images shows Wahab Riaz (left), Shahid Afridi (centre) and Abdul Razzaq. — AFP/Files, Screengrab

Shahid Afridi, the former captain of Pakistan national cricket team, has said that he was unable to “comprehend” the recent removal of Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq from Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) selection committee.

The removal of Riaz and Abdul Razzaq comes after a disappointing performance from the national team during the T20 World Cup 2024 as the PCB management had lost confidence in the duo and their opinions had not been taken into account for some time now, according to sources.

While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Afridi, 47, broke his silence over the recent removal of the former cricketers from the selection body as part of PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi’s much needed “surgery” for the body.

Afridi, who is currently participating in the World Championship of Legends 2024 in England as part of Pakistan Champions, told reporters that he did not understand PCB’s latest move when asked about it.

He emphasised that Riaz and Abdul Razzaq are not the only members of the selection committee and there are several other people involved as well.

“I just found out that they sidelined Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz,” he said. “I don’t understand this kind of ‘surgery’.”

Afridi also said that whatever “surgery” is needed, it must be done once and for all. He added that whoever is brought forward now must be given ample time to improve their captaincy skills.

While discussing the performance of Babar Azam, Pakistan’s current T20 captain, Afridi highlighted that the 29-year-old cricketer has been given many chances to prove his captaincy skills.

“As far as Babar is concerned, no captain has been given such open chances (to prove their captaincy),” Afridi told reporters, highlighting that Azam had played in several international tournaments.

However, he did not seem impressed by Azam’s captaincy skills despite the “incredible” opportunities he had.

About the removal of Riaz, 39, and Abdul Razzaq, 44, sources stated: “Their influence was significant in the selection of the T20 World Cup squad and they showed more support to players who did not perform well.”

Meanwhile, Mohammad Yousuf, Asad Shafiq and Bilal Afzal are still part of the seven-member panel which also includes the captain and head coach.

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