Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Friday said the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him have not affected his cricket. He added that, as a sportsperson, he is very much used to facing such hurdles.
Babar Azam will lead the team in all three formats during the upcoming tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe. The 26-year-old reacted to the sexual harassment allegations at a virtual press conference on Friday. Playing the situation down, he stated:
"It is my personal issue and it is in court. My lawyer is handling it. We face all sorts of hurdles in life and I am used to it. This issue has not affected my form or cricket."
A woman, Hamiza Mukhtar, has accused the Pakistani captain of sexual harassment, claiming that he threatened her and even made false promises of marriage. A Lahore court on Thursday ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to file a case against Babar Azam on charges of blackmail and harassment.
I don't think Sharjeel's fitness is that bad: Babar Azam
During the press conference, Babar Azam also opened up on the selection controversy surrounding opener Sharjeel Khan in the Pakistan T20I squad. He said:
"I have opened with him in the PSL and I know how destructive he can be. Yes his fitness is not up there but we will work on his fitness and improve it."
"I don't think Sharjeel's fitness is that bad. We can't expect him to be a Shadab Khan but he has played the entire domestic season and has also performed. He is not that bad on the field and I don't think we have to worry about covering him. He is a bit overweight but I am confident with the team his fitness will improve a lot," he added.
Babar Azam also said that discussions during selection committee meetings should remain confidential.
"There are always discussions, disagreements and agreements in selection committee meetings but in the end it is always for the betterment of the team and players and shouldn't come out of the room," he added on the controversy surrounding the selectors and him.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday confirmed that one member of the squad chosen for the tour of South Africa has tested positive for the Coronavirus.
The 35-member Pakistan squad is scheduled to depart for Johannesburg on March 26 for three ODIs and four T20Is against South Africa.