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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Babar Azam steps down from captaincy in all formats

Babar Azam has stepped down from captaincy in all formats following a meeting with Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee.

During the meeting, Babar was informed that the board intended to retain him as the captain for red-ball cricket but would replace him in white-ball cricket.

Preferring not to be confined to leadership in a specific format, Babar expressed his desire to resign from captaincy in all formats and promptly left the meeting.

An hour after leaving the National Cricket Academy, Babar formally announced his resignation through a statement posted on his social media platforms.

“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 wrote in his statement.

“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it is a right time for this call,” he announced.

Pakistan lost five matches during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, finishing outside of the semi-final qualification places. And Babar was largely off form with the bat, scoring 320 runs in his nine innings and having a top score of just 74.

The former top-ranked ODI batter in the world, who averages 56.72 in the format with 19 centuries to his name, says he will continue to be available to play for Pakistan in all formats going forward, and will offer his support to whoever takes over as skipper.

“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,” he added.

Among the potential candidates for the captain’s role in the upcoming Test series against Australia, Shan Masood has emerged as a strong contender, while Shaheen Shah Afridi is being considered to lead the Men in Green for the T20I series in New Zealand.

Sarfaraz was also in the running for the Test captaincy, but associates close to him advised against taking on the role, citing the challenging nature of the Australia Test tour for a new captain.

Babar had been the multi-format Pakistan captain since 2020 and led Pakistan in 134 international matches. 

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