Babar Azam has relinquished his position as Pakistan captain from all formats following the team’s dismal show at the 2023 World Cup. Pakistan finished fifth on the points table after the league stage under Babar, and at one point were sliding even further down the barrel having lost four matches in a row. Somehow, Pakistan got themselves back among the wins but it wasn’t enough to get through to the semifinal. In the aftermath of Pakistan’s elimination, clamours for Babar’s removal as captain were loud with the star batter making the decision through a post on social media.
“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it 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 want to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility,” Babar said in a statement.
Appointed as Pakistan’s T20I captain in October 2019 and later taking on the ODI captaincy in May 2020, Babar Azam ascended to the role of being the official leader across all formats a month later. In a captaincy marked by both personal achievements and team successes, Babar guided Pakistan to the pinnacle of ODI rankings, as the team reached the T20 World Cup semifinals in 2021, followed by a runner-up finish in the final the next year. Babar’s rise in captaincy coincided with him becoming the World’s No. 1-ranked ODI batter in April 2021, a position he held until earlier this month when Shubman Gill displaced him from the top spot.
“I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019. Over the past four years, I’ve experienced many highs and lows on and off the field, but I wholeheartedly and passionately aimed to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricket world.” Babar added. “Reaching the No. 1 spot in the white-ball format was a result of the collective efforts of players, coaches, and management but I’d like to express my gratitude to passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support during this journey.”
But Babar’s time was up when his own form with bat nosedived. Boasting an ODI average of 56.72 with 19 centuries, Babar endured a tough time in World Cup, scoring 320 runs in his nine innings and having a top score of just 74.