In what can be a major setback for captain Babar Azam, the Pakistan Cricket Board is reportedly mulling over a change in leadership after the team’s campaign ends in the World Cup 2023. The Pakistan side is facing severe backlash over its three consecutive losses in the tournament and their latest shocker against Afghanistan, has fumed their cricket fans. Babar is also on the receiving end with many wanting him to step down from the leadership role.
Recently, ex-Pakistan cricketers Basit Ali and Shoaib Malik voiced for Babar to leave the captaincy. While Basit claimed that this should be done for Babar to focus on his batting, Malik claimed that he does not think out of the box but can do wonders as a player. As per a report in PTI, PCB is mulling over a change in leadership with discarded veteran Sarfaraz Ahmed, fast bowler Shaheen Afridi and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan being among the contenders to replace the current skipper.
A source claimed that even qualifying for the World Cup semis now can result in Babar losing captaincy in limited-overs cricket. “Only if Pakistan can stage a miracle and win all their remaining matches to qualify for the semi-finals of this World Cup does Babar stand any chance of surviving as captain and even then he might be relegated to skipper in just the red ball format,” a source told PTI.
“It is over for Babar because he has been given unbridled power and authority as captain and more importantly he has always had players of his choice in the team. There has never been any attempt to reduce his authority and so he is now being held solely responsible for the Asia Cup and World Cup defeats,” he added.
The source stated that the Pakistan star was given all the freedom to have his 18-player squad despite there being advice from former captains Misbah ul Haq and Muhammad Hafeez to make changes for the World Cup 2023. “The PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf ignored the advice of Misbah and Hafeez and some other former players whom he consulted as Babar was adamant he didn’t want changes in the team for the World Cup,” he added.
The lobbies have now started to work to get Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan selected for the potential captaincy post. “Sarfaraz might win the nod to captain the Test and ODI sides again while Shaheen may get a chance to be the T20 captain. There are very bright chances that Pakistan will have a new coaching staff and captain when they embark on the Test tour of Australia and for the white ball series in New Zealand after the WC,” the source said.