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No rift between Babar and Afridi, says Azhar Mahmood

Source: PTI
June 11, 2024 18:14 IST
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IMAGE: It is often speculated that Pakistan team has two factions -- one led by skipper Babar Azam, while the other group is under Shaheen Shah Afridi's control. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Pakistan assistant coach Azhar Mahmood has denied a rift between skipper Babar Azam and premier pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, stating that former captain Wasim Akram's recent assertion of the duo not being on talking terms is untrue.


Mahmood also took a dig at everyone who feels that players shouldn't have a life outside cricket and remain confined in their hotel rooms brooding over their narrow defeat against India.

It is often speculated that Pakistan team has two factions -- one led by skipper Babar, while the other group is under Shaheen's control.

"Wasim must have said that, but I don't know. I didn't see it. Shaheen and Babar are definitely talking, they are good friends. They are both part of the Pakistan team. We have not lost because of anyone, it is our mistake too," Mahmood said referring to the team's six-run loss to India in which it failed to chase down a 120-run target.

Asked why players aren't coming for press conferences to face the media, Mahmood said the support staff takes equal responsibility when it comes to being answerable for defeats.

"We are not hiding any players, everyone is there. Everything is there. I said earlier that we are a team. Obviously, we're sitting here, and it's our responsibility. We're not delivering. That's why I'm sitting here.

"Yesterday, Gary (Kirsten) was sitting here. So definitely, it's not like we're hiding a player. They're part of us."

Mahmood, chief selector Wahab Riaz and skipper Babar were seen enjoying a dinner at a restaurant in New York after the loss to India, which led to angry reactions from fans.

"You were there. I'm telling you; you were there. I saw you there too," Mahmood hit back at the Pakistani reporter, who asked this question.

"The thing is, we are a very emotional nation. I mean, it's not possible that if you lose a match, your life will be over. Yes, how will you do it? If you lose a match and then you come to the room and bang the walls of the room, then you need a little time to relax your mind.

"Now, obviously, our players are not like that. I've been with English teams, too. If they go to a place like that, you can only go to eat, that's our entertainment."

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