Shahid Afridi subtly criticizes Babar Azam while praising Rohit Sharma’s leadership

India have finished their 11-year ICC title drought with a breathtaking seven-run triumph over South Africa in Bridgetown, Barbados, securing their second T20 World Cup 2024 trophy.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, the 2022 finalists, faltered in the group stage, suffering defeats to the United States of America (USA) and arch-rivals India, failing to advance to the Super 8s. Following India’s historic victory, a wave of congratulations flooded in from current and former cricketers, with particular attention drawn to Shahid Afridi‘s observations.

Concerns about Pakistan’s leadership and praise for Rohit Sharma

Afridi, renowned for his illustrious career with Pakistan, commended India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, for his pivotal role in leading India to T20 World Cup in 2024. Speaking to PTI, Afridi highlighted the profound impact of a captain’s demeanor on team morale, indirectly contrasting Rohit’s leadership style with perceived shortcomings in Babar Azam‘s leadership for Pakistan.

“Look, the role of a leader is always very important. The body language of the leader becomes the body language of the team. The leader has to set an example. Take Rohit Sharma as an example,” Afridi said.

Afridi further emphasized that Rohit instills a sense of self-belief in his team with his aggressive style of play.

“Now, look at his (Rohit’s) game and his style of playing; the lower-order batsmen who come in are all confident because the captain likes to play aggressive and attacking cricket. So, I always believe that the role of the captain is very important,” the 47-year-old added.

Also READ: Ahmed Shehzad reveals his all time Pakistan XI; no place for Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi

Shahid Afridi’s insights on importance of grassroots development

In a candid reflection on Pakistan’s cricketing structure, Afridi advocated for empowering the national selection committee to appoint team captains, signaling a need for substantive reforms rather than cosmetic changes within the PCB.

“I don’t know what the PCB chairman has in mind now and I am also waiting to see what changes will be made, but I have always supported the team and will keep doing that,” the former Pakistan captain stated.

He emphasized the critical importance of nurturing grassroots cricket to cultivate a strong pipeline of talent, addressing fundamental weaknesses in Pakistan’s cricketing infrastructure.

“I am also waiting to see what these changes will be. A positive decision needs to be made, and the changes shouldn’t just be superficial. The real issue lies at the grassroots level of our cricket. Our product is weak at the grassroots level, and if we invest there, good players will emerge,” Afridi concluded.

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