Babar Azam Relinquishes Captaincy Across All 3 Formats for Pakistan

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announces major changes in team leadership and coaching staff following World Cup setback

In the aftermath of Pakistan’s failure to secure a spot in the World Cup semi-finals, 29-year-old batter Babar Azam has stepped down as captain across all three formats. Initially presented as a resignation, the PCB clarified that Azam had been relieved of the white-ball captaincy, with the offer to retain his role as Test captain, which he declined.

Leadership Shuffle: New Captains Appointed

  • Test captaincy now rests in the hands of batter Shan Masood, succeeding Azam.
  • Pace bowler Shaheen Afridi assumes leadership of the Twenty20 side.
  • The captain for the one-day side is yet to be named.

Coaching Staff Overhaul

  • PCB takes a decisive step by removing the entire coaching staff, including team director Mickey Arthur.
  • Former captain and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez appointed as the director.
  • A new coaching team will be selected for the upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand, commencing in December.

Babar Azam’s Departure and Reflections

Azam leaves the captaincy position following Pakistan’s fifth-place finish at the World Cup, with four wins and five losses in nine games. Having led in white-ball cricket since 2019 and as Test skipper since 2021, Azam met with the PCB in Lahore to discuss his future. In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Azam expressed the difficulty of his decision, emphasizing the highs and lows experienced over the past four years.

Azam affirmed his devotion to keep playing for Pakistan in each of the three organizations, featuring his obligation to supporting the new commander and the group with his experience and energy.

PCB Chairman’s Perspective

PCB Chairmain zaka ashraf meeting
Photo credit | PCB |

Zaka Ashraf, Chairman of the PCB management committee, acknowledged Azam as a world-class player and expressed the board’s commitment to supporting his growth. Ashraf highlighted Azam’s batting prowess, considering him one of the best batters produced by Pakistan. With the removal of the captaincy burden, Ashraf expects Azam to focus on his individual performances and reach greater heights.

Insights from Test Match Special Commentator

Test Match Special commentator Aatif Nawaz provides insights into the expectations on Azam to deliver silverware. Nawaz suggests that relinquishing the captaincy might pave the way for Azam’s greatest successes, drawing parallels with other top batters like Joe Root, Virat Kohli, and Steve Smith, who experienced a resurgence after stepping away from captaincy responsibilities.

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