Babar says he will continue to play for Pakistan in all three formats, and Shan Masood is the favorite to take over the Test captaincy
Babar Azam has resigned as captain of the Pakistan national team in all formats following their dismal campaign in the 2023 ODI World Cup, where they failed to qualify for the semi-finals with just four wins in nine matches.
“I vividly remember the moment I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019. Over the past four years, I have witnessed many highs and lows on and off the field, but I have aimed with all sincerity and passion to maintain the pride of Pakistan and its nation. I have always been proud of my country,” Babar said in a statement announcing His decision is ‘respected in the world of cricket.’ “Reaching first place in the white-ball tournament was the result of the collective efforts of the players, coaches and management, but I would like to express my gratitude to the ardent Pakistani cricket fans for their unwavering support during this journey.
“Today, I will step down as captain of Pakistan in all formats. It is a difficult decision but I feel this is the right time for this call. 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 would like to express my sincere thanks to the PCB for entrusting me with this great responsibility.”
Babar scored 320 runs in nine matches during the World Cup – the third highest for Pakistan – at an average of 40 runs and a strike rate of 82.90.
No official statement has been made about the potential replacement, but Shan Masood is the favorite to take over the Test captaincy with immediate effect. It is understood that Masoud was at Gaddafi Stadium today.
Speculation about Babar’s future has increased since Pakistan’s World Cup exit was confirmed, although it is understood there was little consensus on a potential replacement. The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over whether the current PCB setup has the authority to sack the Pakistani captain. This privilege normally falls to the Chairman of the PCB Board, and while Zakka Ashraf currently fulfills this duty, he is the Chairman of the PCB Management Committee on an interim basis, a role that was extended for three months by the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan. A court in Pakistan ruled that the committee did not have the authority to make major changes during its term and had to work only on a caretaker basis. It was widely understood that the removal of the Pakistani captain fell outside the scope of the committee.
However, after a lengthy meeting at the PCB headquarters where deliberations took place over the fate of the Pakistani captain, as well as the coaching staff, Babar resigned. He did not offer a specific reason other than to say he felt it was the right time.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Pakistan team manager Mickey Arthur and head coach Grant Bradburn will not be sacked – another action this management committee likely lacks the power to take. However, they will find that their roles have been greatly reduced; Neither of them is expected to be part of the traveling squad for the upcoming tour of Pakistan, a three-match Test series in Australia starting next month.
There has been no official word on who will replace them in the coaching set-up for that tour, although there is speculation that Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz and Younis Khan will form part of the traveling squad in one managerial capacity or another. Zakka Ashraf met with the three yesterday, although no official reason for this meeting was revealed. If any of them are tasked with coaching or managing the team in Australia, they will be expected to do so on an ad hoc basis; Permanent coaching appointments are likely to be outside the scope of this management committee.
Pakistan depart for Australia on November 30, playing a warm-up match against the Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval from December 6-9. The first Test begins in Perth on December 14. After the three Tests, the side will also play five T20Is in New Zealand.
There is no information yet on the T20 captain, but ESPNcricinfo understands that Shaheen Afridi is the favourite.
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