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PCB mends captaincy crisis after Afridi row

- AFP Karachi

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Mohsin Naqvi yesterday held crisis talks to resolve the row after sacked captain Shaheen Shah Afridi denied quotes backing his successor.

Afridi, replaced by Babar Azam as skipper on Sunday, insisted he had not made comments backing his replacemen­t that were quoted in a PCB statement.

Yesterday, the PCB said Naqvi “held a meeting with the selection committee to talk about the team’s selection ahead of the New Zealand T20I series”.

“The meeting was also attended by captain Babar,” the PCB added without mentioning any separate meeting with left-arm pacer Afridi.

However sources confirmed to AFP any confusion after Afridi’s statement denial had been removed and the former captain was shown shaking hands with Naqvi in a picture released by the PCB.

Twenty-nine Pakistan players are attending a training camp at army base Kakul in the KhyberPakh­tunkhwa province ahead of a five-match T20I home series against New Zealand starting from April 18.

The row developed following a PCB statement saying Afridi had “nothing but respect” for returning skipper Azam.

“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,” he was reported to have said.

“I will try to help him both on and off the field. We are all one. Our aim is the same, to help Pakistan become the best team in the world.”

Azam stepped down in November last year after Pakistan crashed out of the 50 over World Cup in the first round in India.

“I will try to help him on and off the field. We are all one,” Afridi was quoted as saying on the PCB’s website on Sunday.

But a source close to Afridi denied he had signed off on the statement that implied a harmonious transfer of the top job.

The source added Afridi resented being replaced after being in charge for just one Twenty20 series.

“This is not Shaheen’s statement and he has contacted PCB to clarify this,” the source told AFP.

Fast bowler Afridi was in charge for Pakistan’s 4-1 loss in a Twenty20 Series in New Zealand in January.

Afridi also captained Lahore Qalandars as they finished last in the T20 Pakistan Super League that ended two weeks ago.

Naqvi, also Pakistan’s interior minister, has re-organised the selection committee in a bid to improve results in the forthcomin­g World Cup, also aiming to hire foreign coaches for the team.

Following the New Zealand series, Pakistan will play three T20Is in Ireland and four in England.

The T20 World Cup takes place in the United States and West Indies in June.

 ?? (@TheRealPCB) ?? Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Mohsin Naqvi shakes hands with Shaheen Afridi at Kakul Military Academy, Abbottabad, Pakistan, yesterday.
(@TheRealPCB) Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Mohsin Naqvi shakes hands with Shaheen Afridi at Kakul Military Academy, Abbottabad, Pakistan, yesterday.

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