Babar Azam opened up about the reported dressing-room conflict with Shaheen Afridi, breaking his silence on the eve of Pakistan’s departure for the World Cup.

Following Pakistan’s loss to Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match plagued by rain, reports surfaced of a heated exchange between Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi within the dressing room. Now, as Pakistan prepares to depart for the World Cup, both players have finally addressed the issue.

Babar, addressing the team, cautioned against seeing themselves as “superstars,” emphasizing the need for stellar World Cup performances. Shaheen interjected, urging recognition of standout performers from the Asia Cup. This sparked a rift, necessitating senior player Mohammad Rizwan’s intervention to soothe the skipper’s emotions before the team departed the stadium for their hotel.

During a pre-departure press conference in Lahore on Tuesday, Babar addressed the incident. He clarified that after closely contested matches, the dressing room typically holds a constructive discussion, respecting every player. However, these discussions are often misconstrued, leading to such rumors and misinterpretations.

“Respect is given to everyone. You see, whenever the match is close and we lose, it’s just a regular meeting, but sometimes it’s portrayed as if we had a fight. It shouldn’t be like that. Respect should remain constant for everyone. We love each other as much as we do our family,” said Babar.

Previously, Shaheen had posted a photo of himself and Babar on X with a single-word caption, “family,” accompanied by a heart emoji.

Pakistan’s World Cup preparations include two warm-up matches in Hyderabad on September 29 and October 3, with their official campaign starting on October 6 against the Netherlands.

Last Updated on September 27, 2023

Senior Sports Copywriter