Babar Azam is likely to take a call on his captaincy future after landing in Pakistan following a below-par World Cup campaign. Pakistan lost to England by 93 runs in their last World Cup match and ended fifth in the points table with just four wins in nine matches. There has been severe criticism of Babar’s batting and more so of his captaincy. When Babar was asked about his captaincy future in the post-match press conference by former England Michael Atherton, he said he would want to take the forward. “I will do the best to pitch in my experience,” he said.
But if reports are to be believed then the Pakistan players are not ready to let Babar resign. The right-hander, who could not end the World Cup on a high, is unlikely to step down on his own after the majority of his teammates advised against it.
“Babar has already spoken to his teammates, and majority of them advised him not to step down himself. He will come out with a clear line of action once he returns home with the team after failing to make the semi-finals of the World Cup in India. But, he will not step down himself,” a PCB source told PTI.
Babar has a strong following in the team and the likes of Imam ul Haq, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali are players considered to be close to the Pakistan skipper.
In fact, last year when there were talks about removing Babar from Test captaincy had gained traction on social media, some of the players had then taken to social media to show their solidarity with hashtag “Sochna Bhi Mana Hai” (Don’t even harbour such thoughts).
With Pakistan facing two challenging tours – to Australia and New Zealand – shortly after the World Cup, Babar is likely to continue as the skipper unless asked to step down by the selectors or PCB.
“He will most probably leave the decision of whether he should remain captain or not up to the Pakistan Cricket Board headed by Zaka Ashraf,” a well-informed source close to the skipper said.
Babar was first named the white-ball captain for the ‘Green Shirts’ in late 2019 after the World Cup in England (where they failed to make it to the semi-finals), replacing Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Besides, he was also appointed Test captain in 2021, taking over the reins from Azhar Ali.
But, while Babar has enjoyed success in T20 Internationals, leading his team to the finals of the Asia Cup T20 and the T20 World Cup last year, his record in Tests and ODIs has been far from impressive.
Also, after Pakistan’s 2016 T20 World Cup campaign in India (where it failed to make it beyond the Super 10 stage), skipper Shahid Afridi and head coach Waqar Younis were shown the door by the PCB.
PCB head Zaka has insisted that he will only take decisions on the captaincy and team management after consulting some of the former players, notably Misbah ul Haq (who was appointed as the head coach and chief selector when Babar was assigned the leadership duties), Muhammad Hafeez and some others.
Zaka has already met with some of the former players, like Mohammad Yousuf and Aaqib Javed and sought their advice on future decisions around the team.
(With PTI inputs)