'Shaheen and Babar are talking, they are good friends' - Azhar Mahmood disapproves Wasim Akram's claim

In the middle of Pakistan's disappointing performance at the T20 World Cup, rumors spiraled about a rift between skipper Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

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Azhar Mahmood
Azhar Mahmood. (Source -Getty Images)

In the middle of Pakistan's disappointing performance at the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup, rumors spiraled about a rift between skipper Babar Azam and star bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi. However, the team's assistant coach Azhar Mahmood has firmly dismissed these claims, stating that the two cricketers share a good friendship.

The speculation began after the Men in Green's defeat to India on June 9 in New York, when legendary pacer  Wasim Akram lashed out at the team's dismal performance. Akram went as far as to suggest that Babar and Shaheen were not on speaking terms.

“There are players who don’t want to talk to each other. This is international cricket, and you play for your country. Make these players sit at home,” said Akram as quoted by India Today.

Also read: Wasim Akram slams Pakistan team after India loss in T20 World Cup 2024

We are not hiding any player, everyone is there: Azhar Mahmood

Mahmood, however, was quick to dismiss Akram's claim and revealed that both the players are on taking terms and share a good bond both on and off the field

"Wasim must have said that, but I don't know. I didn't see it. Shaheen and Babar are talking, they are good friends. They are both part of the Pakistan team," said Mahmood.

The assistant coach also emphasized that the team management takes responsibility for Pakistan's poor performance, rather than singling out individual players.

"Now when you ask who will take responsibility – I think we all, as a team management will take responsibility. We have not lost because of anyone, it is our mistake too," he added.

Also read: Shahid Afridi believes Pakistan missed out on a huge opportunity to beat India

He further clarified that no players were being hidden or sidelined, contrary to Akram's statements. He also emphasized about how the team is taking ownership of their poor performance so far in the tournament.

"We are not hiding any players, everyone is there. Everything is there. I said earlier that we are a team. We're sitting here, and it's our responsibility. We're not delivering. That's why I'm sitting here. Yesterday, Gary was sitting here. So definitely, it's not like we're hiding a player. They're part of us," said Mahmood.

As Pakistan are in a must-win situation against Canada on June 11 to keep their World Cup hopes alive, the team will need to put aside any distractions and focus on their performance. 

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