Shahid Afridi Questions Rumors Of Babar Azam’s Removal From Pakistan’s T20I Squad

Babar Azam-led Pakistan are experiencing all sorts of troubles after they faced an early exit in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. The abandonment of the USA vs Ireland match led to their premature elimination and subsequently, they have been facing extensive criticism from fans and former cricketers alike. Calls for a complete overhaul of the team have emerged on social media, with suggestions for a fresh start. However, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has weighed in on the speculation surrounding a potential team overhaul, outlining reasons why he believes drastic action is not the answer.

Afridi stated on his YouTube channel that the talk of removing eight to nine players from the team is unrealistic unless there are sufficient replacements waiting for their chance.

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“We have been hearing much these days that eight to nine players will be removed from the team, it does not happen like that. You remove eight to nine players when you have that many boys waiting for their chance,” Afridi said on his YouTube channel.

Afridi added that discussions about removing players like Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan require having strong replacements ready on the bench, which Pakistan currently lacks.

‘Give Respect To Domestic Players’: Afridi

“If you are talking about removing Babar as a player, then do you have someone like him? Do we have a player capable of replacing Mohammad Rizwan? These types of talks are done when you have a strong bench,” Afridi added.

Afridi also emphasised the importance of respecting domestic players who consistently perform well throughout the year, citing examples such as Salman Agha, Saud Shakeel, Sahibzada Farhan, pacer Mohammad Ali and others. He criticised the practice of overlooking their consistent performances in favour of players who only shine in a few matches, arguing that such actions amount to injustice.

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“You need to give respect to your domestic players. They play all year and give great performances, like Salman Agha, Saud Shakeel, Sahibzada Farhan, pacer Mohammad Ali, and many others, these players play all year domestic cricket, and if we ignore their performances and bring a player on the performances of three matches, then we are doing injustice,” he said.

Afridi Calls For Consistency In Domestic Cricket

Afridi suggested that players like Azam Khan and Saim Ayub should be instructed to focus on playing domestic cricket consistently for two years while maintaining their fitness. He emphasised that the selection committee should enforce clear criteria, requiring players to meet specific standards if they aspire to represent Pakistan.

“The players from this team be it Azam Khan, or Saim Ayub, they should be told to play domestic cricket for two straight years and maintain their fitness. The selection committee should ensure that if you want to play for Pakistan, then you have to do such and such thing,” he added.

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