Babar Azam on Wednesday quit as Pakistan captain across formats, four days after his team’s elimination from the World Cup, where the former champions finished fifth. Pakistan lost five of their nine games, including a shock defeat against Afghanistan, bringing Babar’s leadership under scanner.
Experts and critics had called for a change of guard and Babar was summoned for a post-mortem of team’s performance by PCB’s management committee head Zaka Ashraf. Babar announced his decision on social media.
— Babar Azam (@babarazam258) November 15, 2023
“Today, I am stepping down as captain of Pakistan from all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel this is right time for this call,” Babar wrote in his statement, posted on X.
Babar faced scathing criticism for his team selection and many accused him of creating a coterie with the players of his liking, including Imam ul Haq, Mohammed Nawaz, Shadab Khan to name a few. Babar made it clear that he will support the new skipper in every way possible.
“I will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats. I am here to support the new captain and the team with my experience and dedication. I want to express my sincere thanks to Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility,” he added.
Ashraf, on his part, also copped a lot of flak when he issued a statement in the middle of the tournament that the squad selected for World Cup was done at the behest of erstwhile chairman Inzamam ul Haq and skipper Babar.
He had mentioned that a decision would be taken at the end of the tournament and it was clear that Babar didn’t have PCB’s back.
During his tenure, Pakistan became No. 1 ranked team in ODIs on the back of some solid performances at home on placid pitches against second string teams from SENA countries and relatively weaker Asian teams. “Reaching the No. 1 spot in white ball formats was a result of collective effort of players, coaches and management,” he stated.
He was made the captain in 2019 and he admitted that he has experienced both highs and lows after he first got a call from PCB informing of their decision of appointing him the leader of the national team.
“Over the past four years, I have experienced many highs and lows on and off the field but I have wholeheartedly and passionately tried to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in cricket world,” he said.
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