Pakistan Cricket Team could be heading for a divided lockerroom just like the old times after eagle-eyed fans recognised that Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were not among the well-wishers’ list of Shadab Khan after the all-rounder was made captain for the Afghanistan series.
While Shadab was given the leadership role, Shaheen, Babar and Rizwan were “rested” for the three-game series in order to give a chance to newer faces.
On paper, PCB’s decision makes sense but the selection of players like Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed, who have not had their best PSL, raises more questions.
Surely Babar and Rizwan, two of the best T20 batters in the world are ahead in the pecking order. Meanwhile, Shaheen is only just coming off a long injury layoff and needs as much game time as possible to regain peak fitness ahead of the world cup later this year.
The trio were reportedly not keen on taking a break from international cricket as well.
While many former and current cricket players congratulated Shadab on his promotion, Babar, Rizwan and Afridi were not among them which has raised concerns among the fans.
Pakistan has suffered from divided locker rooms in the past which affected the team’s on-field performance. The national side seemed to have remedied that but the harmonious period may finally be over.
Babar’s captaincy has become a constant talking point among players and fans alike. While he has reiterated his desire to lead in all three formats, PCB has continued to drop hints that they would prefer to have someone else in charge in at least the T20s.
Shadab will have to martial a young side against a very capable Afghanistan team which would boost his stock to take over from Babar even further.