Shaheen Afridi backs Babar, discusses plans as New Zealand’s T20I series approaches

Pakistan’s T20I captain Shaheen Afridi spoke candidly ahead of the five-match T20I series against New Zealand starting January 12 in Auckland.

Shaheen Afridi was named the captain of the T20I team after the resignation of former captain Babar Azam and this will be the left-arm pacer’s first stint as captain in the tough conditions of New Zealand.

The 23-year-old emphasized that before the 2024 World Cup begins, the management will try players in different positions to ensure that we go into the mega event with full strength.

Shaheen Afridi said at a press conference

“There are 17 T20I matches before the World Cup, and different combinations will be tried to determine the best playing positions,” Shaheen Afridi said at a press conference.

When they face England in the series, everyone will know what needs to be done. Before the World Cup, it is important to decide who will play in which number and position. I don’t want any injury before the World Cup.

The 23-year-old, who opened the three-match Test series against Australia in a loss to Pakistan, said he bowled too much in the first two matches, which led him to opt for rest in the final Test.

“I am fully fit, I bowled a lot in the first two Tests against Australia, and the management and I did not want to risk any injury. If I could win the series, I would have played. I prefer Test cricket because that format is more appealing to me.”

Shaheen Afridi then expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to lead the team while also highlighting the past T20 tournaments where Pakistan made it to the semi-finals and finals but failed in failure.

He said that it was a proud moment to lead the Pakistani team, we are performing well in T20 cricket, and the competition in major T20 events was good, unfortunately, we did not get the desired results in these events.

The 23-year-old player said that it is not easy to play the semi-finals and finals of the World Cup, we have made small mistakes but we will try not to repeat them again.

“Some players are new to the squad for the New Zealand series and some are returning, we will try our best to make sure everyone gets a chance.

I don’t think Babar’s form is going down, a couple of innings doesn’t matter. He is our best batsman. He has scored so many runs that I can’t count them,” Shaheen Afridi said when asked about Babar’s current form.

He also allayed concerns about his speed, saying that now each ball can be bowled at a speed of 140 km per hour, but he will try to increase the speed.

“When I was bowling and the board was showing low pace, it was surprising to all of us that I was bowling with my full strength, the pace was showing only 130,” the left said.

Not every ball can be bowled at 140, I will try to improve my fitness, I am the captain and will lead from the front.

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