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There is a fresh controversy that is reportedly brewing between Shaheen Afridi and the Pakistan Cricket Board. And a statement put out by the cricket board on its website, on behalf of Afridi, is at the centre of it. In the said statement, Afridi, who was stripped off Pakistan’s white ball captaincy, on Sunday proclaimed his full-fledged support to Babar Azam, who was handed back the leadership role ahead of the T20 World Cup in June.

Afridi led Pakistan in a solitary T20I series against New Zealand before the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to give back the T20I and ODI reins to Babar. The elegant batter had stepped down from captaincy after the team failed to reach the knockout stages of last year’s 50-over World Cup. Shan Masood will continue as Pakistan Test captain.

The statement read: “It was an absolute honour to captain the Pakistan National Cricket Team. I will always cherish the memories and the opportunity. As a team player, it is my duty to back our captain, Babar Azam,” Afridi said in a statement issued by the PCB.

“I have played under his captaincy and have nothing but respect for him. I will try to help him on and off the field. We are all one. Our aim is the same, to help Pakistan become the best team in the world,” he added.

In  the same statement, Babar said he will lean on Afridi to exploit his tactical understanding of the game.

“It was a pleasure to play under Shaheen’s leadership. He is still young and is improving as a player and as a leader every day. As a captain, I have always valued his input and I will keep consulting him for important decisions going forward.

“We must take advantage of his strategic understanding of the game. Our joint aim is to make this team the best in the world,” said Babar.

Now, a report in ESPNCricinfohas claimed that Afridi is furious as he did not make any such statement. The report claimed that the said statement was put out by the PCB without the permission of the fast bowler. The report further added that Afridi was about to make release a personal statement on the ‘fake’ quote was stopped after an emergency meeting by the PCB. Another meeting with PCB chief Mohsin Naqvi and Afridi has been organised, said the report.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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