Pakistan’s newly reinstated white-ball captain, Babar Azam, has refuted reports of a rift within the team and a negative team environment. Azam, who recently replaced Shaheen Afridi as T20I captain, addressed the media to dispel rumors that had been swirling since his appointment.

The return of veteran all-rounders Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir, who had previously announced retirements, fueled speculation of a divide. Both players had been critical of Babar’s captaincy in the past, with their comments finding airtime on television. Additionally, Babar’s acrimonious departure from the Karachi Kings two years ago hinted at possible friction.

However, Wasim and Amir’s sudden change of heart regarding retirement coincided with Shaheen’s underwhelming start as captain. Pakistan’s T20I series loss to New Zealand 4-1 and the Lahore Qalandars’ last-place finish in the Pakistan Super League under Shaheen’s leadership seemingly prompted the PCB to seek a change. The upcoming T20 World Cup in June likely played a role in the decision as well.

Reports suggested that Wasim and Amir’s return was contingent on Shaheen’s captaincy, hinting at their strained relationship with Babar. Social media trolls further fueled the flames when the captaincy switch was announced. Shaheen himself added to the speculation with a cryptic Instagram post.

Babar Azam Dismisses Rumors of Team Discord, Vows Focus on T20 World Cup

Despite the rumors, Babar insists on a positive team environment.

“Our bonding is good,” he declared at a press conference. “When we lose, we discuss the merits and demerits, and that strengthens our bond as a team.”

Looking ahead to the World Cup, Babar emphasized experimentation to find the right combination.

“The basic motive is to form a good combination,” he explained. “We’ll try to give enough chances to players who are going to the World Cup, especially in the top four slots.”

Transparency and communication are key for Babar.

“We’ll switch players around only after discussing it with them,” he asserted. “Everything is happening through proper understanding and communication. Every player is being taken into confidence.”

With the World Cup on the horizon, Babar’s leadership will be under close scrutiny. His ability to unite the team and create a winning atmosphere will be crucial for Pakistan’s success.

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