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PCB Discloses Rationale for Shaheen Afridi’s Dismissal as T20I Captain

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a strategic change in the leadership of the Pakistan Men’s national cricket team. Babar Azam, renowned for his exceptional batting record and proven leadership skills, has been reinstated as the white-ball captain, taking over from fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Babar Azam is no stranger to the captaincy role, having previously led Pakistan in 43 ODIs and 71 T20Is between 2019 and 2023. His leadership has been marked by significant victories, including Pakistan’s first win against India in a World Cup encounter during the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Furthermore, under his guidance, Pakistan reached the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup, marking their first World Cup final appearance since 2009.

The PCB’s decision to reinstate Babar Azam as captain is driven by a commitment to ensuring player well-being and peak performance. The board recognizes the importance of rotation and rest, particularly for key players like Shaheen Afridi who has led Pakistan’s pace attack over the years. This strategic move aims to safeguard the longevity of the players, especially fast bowlers, given their injury timelines in the past two years.

The PCB’s decision also takes into account workload management. The board aims to ensure that Pakistan’s main bowlers remain at the top of their game, avoiding an injury crisis like those experienced before the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 and ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023. During these tournaments, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah respectively had to be closely monitored due to injuries.

Shaheen Afridi, in response to the PCB’s decision, expressed his honor at having captained the Pakistan National Cricket Team and pledged his support to Babar Azam. He stated, “I have played under his captaincy and have nothing but respect for him. I will try to help him on and off the field. We are all one. Our aim is the same, to help Pakistan become the best team in the world.”

Babar Azam, on his reappointment as white-ball captain, expressed his pleasure at having played under Shaheen Afridi’s leadership in the recent T20I series. He acknowledged Shaheen Afridi’s strategic understanding of the game and expressed his intention to continue consulting him for important decisions.

The PCB expressed its gratitude to Shaheen Afridi for his contributions as captain and looks forward to his continued success on the field. He will remain a part of Pakistan’s core leadership group. The PCB stated, “We give our unequivocal support to both Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi as they embark on their respective roles, aiming to make Pakistan a top team in the world of cricket.”

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