Updated March 31st, 2024 at 12:39 IST

Babar Azam reappointed as Pakistan's white-ball skipper ahead of T20 World Cup

Babar Azam was on Sunday reappointed as Pakistan's white-ball captain, two months ahead of the T20 World Cup. Babar replaces fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi as the T20 captain. The pacer has been removed after just one series which Pakistan lost 1-4 to New Zealand in January.

Babar Azam's form and captaincy has been a major reason behind Pakistan's poor form in the CWC 2023 whereas he has also failed as a captain. | Image:AP
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Star batter Babar Azam was on Sunday reappointed as Pakistan's white-ball captain, two months ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Babar replaces fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi as the T20 captain. The pacer has been removed after just one series which Pakistan lost 1-4 to New Zealand in January.

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The decision to reinstate Babar was taken after a unanimous recommendation from the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) selection committee.

"Following unanimous recommendation from the PCB’s selection committee, Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi has appointed Babar Azam as white-ball (ODI and T20I) captain of the Pakistan men's cricket team," the PCB said in a media release.

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During a recent meeting in Lahore with PCB Chief Naqvi, Babar allegedly sought assurances about his tenure and asked to be appointed captain of the Test side as well.

However, a reliable source within the PCB disclosed that Naqvi clarified the board's stance, indicating that while Babar would be given a proper run in the white-ball formats a decision on the Test captaincy will be made later.

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Shan Masood is currently leading the red ball team.

"Naqvi made it clear to Babar that PCB will decide on the Test captaincy after appointing the red ball foreign coach and Pakistan has no Test commitments until after the World Cup," the source added.

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Babar had stepped down as captain from all three formats after a disappointing outing at the ODI World Cup in India in November last year.

He had relinquished his role after the then PCB Chief Zaka Ashraf told him he would no longer be captain the white-ball formats and would only lead the Test team.

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Under Babar's captaincy, Pakistan reached the final of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. The latest edition of the marquee event will begin on June 1 in the USA and the West Indies.

The source said the announcement was made after selectors -- Muhammad Yousuf, Asad Shafiq, Wahab Riaz, Abdul Razzaq and Bilal Afzal -- met with Shaheen in the training camp in Kakul on Saturday evening and informed him that they wanted him to focus on his bowling and felt it was better if a batter leads the white ball teams.

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Insiders revealed that Shaheen accepted the change and didn’t protest much but pointed out that it was unfair on him to be judged on just one series.

According to the source, Shaheen's inability to effectively lead the Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League, resulting in their last-place finish, coupled with his own inconsistent performance, were key factors influencing the decision to replace him.

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"The PCB Chairman had made it clear to the selectors that they must decide who should be the captain and also said they would be answerable for the performances of the national team in the future,” the source added. 

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Published March 31st, 2024 at 12:39 IST