Former Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi, has expressed his thoughts on the current state of Babar Azam’s captaincy on not getting positive results for his side in the ongoing 2023 World Cup in India.
In an interview with a local media channel, Afridi emphasized the importance of a captain’s leadership and its impact on the team’s overall performance.
“When you are not in the game [not focused], then these things [fielding issues] will happen. When you are trying to hide somewhere, when you are not thinking positively, I think that at times we are waiting for miracles, miracles don’t just happen. They happen with brave men who know how to fight,” Afridi said.
The former all-rounder continued to highlight the significance of a captain’s dedication and effort on the field.
“Look, a captain is everything. If a captain gives his best, dives during the field, backs other players between overs, the entire team will get [more] active, because when they see that the captain is giving his all and we are not, they feel ashamed that my captain is doing so much, why can’t I be the same?” he said.
The 46-year-old also drew from his own experiences, recalling the impact of captains like Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq.
“It has happened in the past, when I was the captain or Mohammad Yousuf was, when we used to run in the ground and support players, then the entire team used to charge up. When Inzamam would dive during the field, then, believe me, we players used to feel ashamed that why are we not diving when the captain is. At the end of the day, everything comes right back to the captain,” he said.
Afridi underscored the captain’s role in applying pressure strategically and also acknowledged the challenges that comes with captaining the national side and the mixed public reception.
“It is the captain’s job to apply pressure, a pacer is bowling and there is no slip? Four are required on 12 balls and you’ve taken backward point? Apply pressure. What do the Australians do? They take one to two wickets and then put all of their players in the circle to apply pressure, like they did against Pakistan.
“Captaining your national side is a matter of honour but it is not a bed of roses. When you do good, everyone praises you and when you don’t, everyone blames you as well as the head coach,” Afridi concluded.
It is worth noting that the Men in Green are scheduled to compete in their sixth match of the tournament against South Africa on October 27th at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.