Pakistan's Cricket Mess: Upset Shaheen Afridi, Clueless PCB As Babar Azam Reappointed As White-Ball Captain PCB has put Shaheen against Babar. (Source: ANI/X)

There is no end to the drama in Pakistan cricket. There is endless content that keeps coming even if the national team is not playing. This is an off season in Pakistan cricket at as PSL has come to an end and the next series is still some days ahead. But the mess created by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) keep the fans busy as they are bombarded with abundance of rumours and some very frustrating decision making. Babar becoming the captain should not surprise many even if some may feel that Mohammad Rizwan could have been a better choice or Shaheen Afridi could have been given a long run as captain at least till the T20 World Cup. But what amazes and frustrates a Pakistani fan is how PCB runs cricket in the country. It is equal to how the government functions and runs the country.

Also Read | T20 World Cup 2024: Babar Azam Re-Appointed As Pakistan Captain, Here’s How Shaheen Afridi Reacted To Unfair Decision – Report

It is hard to not look at how change in Pakistan government affects PCB. In the last one and a half years, the cricket board has seen four different chairman. Ramiz Raja, Najam Sethi, Zaka Ashraf and Mohsin Naqvi. Whoever comes to the office ensures the old ways are shunned and their new ways are adopted. After Babar Azam performed poorly in the ODI World Cup 2023 as captain where Pakistan failed to reach even the semifinals, he resigned. It was clear that Ashraf-led PC wanteda different captain. Split captaincy was announced under which Shan Masood was named as the new Test captain while Shaheen Afridi, the new T20I captain. The ODI captain was not named as Pakistan were not supposed to play one in the coming future.

Five months later, Shaheen has been given a good-bye only after 5 matches. Under Shaheen, Pakistan lost the away series in New Zealand 1-4. He also underperfomed as captain for Lahore Qalandars. PCB seems to have lost faith in his ability as captain, just two months ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024. Shaheen has all the right to be disappointed. However, PCB did something absolutely unprofessional. 

In the press release that announced Babar as captain, PCB attributed a quote by Shaheen, which read as follows: “I will always cherish the memories and the opportunity. As a team player, it is my duty to back our captain, Babar Azam. 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.”

The statement went viral on the internet before it was reported that Shaheen had not issued any statement at all. As per ESPNcricinfo, an angry Shaheen was going to release his own statement before being PCB boss Naqvi held an emergency meeting with him. One more meeting is planned on Monday, that is April 1.

Back in 2023 World Cup, then chairman Zaka Ashraf has asked a TV anchor to freveal an alleged chat between PCB COO Salman Naseer with Babar. The channel later on apologised for leaking the alleged chat. If some former cricketers of the country are to be believed, these leaks are pre-planned. Today, Naqvi has put two of Pakistan’s biggest match-winners up against each other, thanks to the captaincy fiasco.

From Zaka to Naqvi, PCB remains an unprofessional sports body, which just cannot run the cricket in the country in an effective way.

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