Pakistan's reappointed white-ball captain Babar Azam finally broke his silence on his relationship with Shaheen Shah Afridi after the recent change of guard that saw the latter's removal as T20I skipper.

Addressing the media at the pre-match press conference ahead of the first T20I against New Zealand, Babar asserted that his bond with Shaheen goes back a long time and that they "support each other in every situation".

"I want to make clear that Shaheen (Afridi) and my bond is not recent, it goes back a long way," Babar told the media in Rawalpindi.

"We support each other in every situation. Our aim is to put Pakistan first, and how to put Pakistan's name up in lights. We don't think of individual glory, and thankfully, those elements are not present in my team."

Notably, there were reports of a potential rift between Babar and Shaheen after the former was reinstated as the white-ball captain of Pakistan by the PCB under the chairmanship of Mohsin

Naqvi recently.

The move stripped Shaheen of T20I captaincy and his tenure ended prematurely, having led Pakistan in just a solitary bilateral series against the Kiwis in January.

Pakistan were far from their best in the series as the Blackcaps handed them a shellacking and won the five-match series 4-1.

Shaheen had a PSL (Pakistan Super League) season nine to forget after his side finished at the bottom of the points table with just a single win and eight losses. The pacer is a part of Pakistan's squad for the T20I series against New Zealand and is likely to form a formidable pair with Mohammad Amir as the series gets underway.

Pakistan's T20I squad for the New Zealand series:

Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Muhammad Irfan Niazi, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan.
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