Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has backed young players like Azam Khan and Saim Ayub, considering them the future of the national team. Pakistan cricket team introduced Saim Ayub as the new opening partner of Mohammad Rizwan and Azam Khan as Pakistan’s new wicketkeeper in the recently concluded T20I series against New Zealand where the Men in Green suffered a chaotic 1-4 defeat against the BlackCaps.
The decision to remove Babar Azam from his starting position and move him to number 3 has drawn a lot of criticism as Saim Ayub failed to perform as an opener in the series against New Zealand, while Azam Khan was a complete failure in the series. Babar Azam smashed three consecutive half-centuries in the series, all of them in a lost cause where the rest of Pakistan’s batsmen failed to deliver.
Saim Ayub has played 12 T20Is and one Test for Pakistan, while Azam Khan has played eight T20Is. Neither of them have scored fifties in their international careers and it is high time for the youngsters to play to their full potential and show outstanding performances to impress the selectors and fans. These youngsters need to contribute to the team’s cause and win some games.
Shahid Afridi mentioned that there is a lot of talent in new players like Azam Khan and Saim Ayub and they are the future of the national team. Young players included in central contracts should be given some time while proper planning is carried out on their playing opportunities.
It should not be that if big names like Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan or Shaheen Shah Afridi are rested then there is no alternative for them, there is a need to strengthen the national team bench so that a good alternative player is available when needed.
Shahid Afridi believes Mohammad Hafeez is the right choice for the director’s post
Mohammad Hafeez has faced a lot of criticism from the media and fans since the beginning of his tenure as the new team manager. Shahid Afridi has backed his former Pakistan teammate saying that he has played a lot of cricket and that he is the right man for the job. Shahid Afridi added that Hafeez cannot be expected to fix everything in one series.
Pakistan has only won one match since its victory against New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. They lost the three-match Test series against Australia when they were whitewashed 3-0 by the hosts.
New Zealand also thrashed Pakistan in the five-match T20I series 4-1 where they were brutal against the Men in Green in the first four matches and eventually the Men in Green won their first T20I match under their new captain Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Shahid Afridi is one of the best all-rounders produced by Pakistan and was part of the winning T20 World Cup team in 2009, where they defeated Sri Lanka in the final of the tournament. He was also the highest wicket-taker in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, where he took 21 wickets in the tournament.