T20 World Cup 2024: Azhar Mahmood denies Babar-Shaheen rift

T20 World Cup 2024: Azhar Mahmood denies Babar-Shaheen rift

Babar Azam

Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam holds a press conference regarding the upcoming Twenty20 series against Ireland, England and the T20 World Cup, in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 6, 2024. (Photo: PTI)

Pakistan assistant coach Azhar Mahmood has denied a rift between captain Babar Azam and senior pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, stating that former captain Wasim Akram’s recent claim that the duo are not on speaking terms is false.

Mahmood also criticized all those who feel that players should not have a life outside of cricket and remain confined to their hotel rooms reflecting on their narrow loss against India.

It is often speculated that the Pakistan team has two factions: one led by captain Babar, while the other group is under the control of Shaheen.

“Wasim must have said that, but I don’t know. I didn’t see it. Shaheen and Babar are definitely talking, they are good friends. They are both part of the Pakistan team. We haven’t lost because of anyone. It’s our mistake too,” he said. Mahmood referring to the team’s six-run loss to India in which they failed to reach a target of 120 runs.

When asked why players don’t attend press conferences to face the media, Mahmood said support staff take the same responsibility when it comes to answering for losses.

“We don’t hide any players, they are all there. Everything is there. I said before that we are a team. Obviously, we are sitting here and it is our responsibility. We are not delivering. That is why I am sitting here.

“Yesterday, Gary (Kirsten) was sitting here. So it’s definitely not like we’re hiding a player. They’re a part of us.”

Mahmood, chief selector Wahab Riaz and captain Babar were seen enjoying dinner at a restaurant here after the loss to India, prompting angry reactions from fans.

“You were there. I’m telling you, you were there. I saw you there too,” Mahmood responded to the Pakistani journalist who asked this question.

“The thing is, we’re a very emotional nation. I mean, it’s not possible that if you lose a game, your life is over. Yeah, how are you going to do it? If you lose a game and then you get to the room and hit the walls of the room room, then you need a little time to relax your mind.

“Obviously, our players are not like that. I’ve also been on English teams. If they go to a place like that, they can only go to eat, that’s our entertainment.”

(Only the title and image of this report may have been modified by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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