Former Pakistani captain and all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Tuesday opened up after Pakistan's historic eight-wicket loss against Afghanistan in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 in Chennai and gave his honest review on Babar Azam's captaincy.
Afridi, 46, lashed out at the fielding of the Pakistani team, which was pointed out by many former cricketers as well, and said that when a captain puts effort into the field, all the players give their 200%.
"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 while talking on a local sports show.
"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?"
Afridi then gave examples of past days when he used to be captain saying that we would give our best, and the players used to follow us.
"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."
Boom Boom then gave the example of the Australian cricket team and how they apply pressure on opponents after taking two wickets in quick succession.
"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 added.
The national team, with two wins and three defeats, will now play South Africa at the same venue on October 27.