Shahid Afridi's fierce response after Gambhir called Babar Azam ‘selfish’ player
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Pakistani former masterblaster Shahid Afridi has responded to former Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir's misplaced criticism of Babar Azam where he called the Pakistani skipper a 'selfish' player.
The former Indian opener's remarks stem from Babar Azam's recent poor run of form first in the Asia Cup and now during the T20 World Cup in Australia, where the star Pakistani batter has barely scraped through.
In three matches so far, Babar has scores of 0 against India, 4 against Zimbabwe and 4 against Netherlands.
Gautam Gambhir stated that Babar Azam should play for the team and not think about himself, referring to the possibility of demoting himself in the middle order and maybe make someone like Fakhar Zaman open the batting for the team.
"In my opinion, first, you think about your team instead of yourself; if nothing goes according to your plan, you should have sent Fakhar Zaman up the batting order. This is called selfishness; as a captain, it is easy to be selfish. It is easy for Babar and Rizwan to open the innings for Pakistan and create so many records. If you want to be a leader, you have to think about your team," Gambhir said on air during the Pakistan vs Netherlands game.
Shahid Afridi, who has no love lost with Gambhir, responded to the remark by coming up with a quirky suggestion for Babar, and pointing out that while players can rightly, at times be subjected to criticism, the judgement should be constructive and one that leads to the betterment of the player.
"Tournament k baad koshish karenge Babar ko bole ki unke baare mein bhi kuch bole kyuki wo bhi toh ghar jayenge na. [During the tournament, we'll try and tell Babar to say something about him. Afterall, he (Gambhir) will head straight back home to India too]," Afridi said on a Pakistani TV channel.
"There is always criticism but you need to be very careful with words. You should use words that it should come as an advice for the player and you can make the people understand it as well. As far as Babar is concerned, he has given so many match-winning performances. The consistency with which he has scored, very few Pakistan batters have. He may not have risen to the expectations which is why he is facing some flak."
Afridi shifted focus to the India vs Bangladesh Group 2 Super 12 match at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday. It is a contest that will be keenly followed by the Pakistan team and its supporters as a Bangladesh win will keep their semi-final hopes alive, whereas the opposite will diminish it further. On current form, India are clear favourites and Afridi feels it will take a miracle for Bangladesh to pull off a win over the mighty Indian team.
"The kind of format T20 is, any team can upset any other side. But on paper, the Indian team is quite big and experienced. They have some really star individual performers while Bangladesh is not the same team which they were some time back. They were expected to do well but whatever I have seen on Shakib's captaincy, he hasn't delivered good results. On current form, one would obviously rate India," the former all-rounder mentioned.