Will Babar Azam's captaincy be stripped if Pakistan fails in ODI World Cup 2023? PCB drops hint on future
The Pakistan Cricket Board hints at potential leadership changes if the national team's performance in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023 continues to falter, prompting discussions about potential captaincy replacements for Babar Azam.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has indicated that captain Babar Azam's leadership may be in jeopardy if the national team's performance in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023 doesn't improve. Pakistan is facing a crucial match against South Africa on Friday, and a loss would significantly diminish their chances of reaching the semifinals, given their three consecutive defeats in five matches.
The PCB issued a statement addressing the media scrutiny on Babar Azam and the team's management, emphasising that successes and defeats are inherent in the game. The board stated that both Babar and Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq had the freedom and support to form the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023.
"Addressing the media scrutiny directed at captain Babar Azam and the team management, the board's stance, echoing that of former cricketers, is that successes and defeats are part of the game. Captain Babar Azam and Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq were given freedom and support in forming the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023," said PCB in a statement.\
"Looking ahead, the board will make decisions in the best interest of Pakistan cricket based on the team's performances in the World Cup. At present, the PCB encourages fans, former players and stakeholders to rally behind the team as they strive to make a triumphant comeback in the mega-event," it added.
Pakistan has accumulated four points from five matches, facing losses to India, Australia, and Afghanistan. Criticism and calls for replacing Babar as the 50-over captain have grown, particularly after the surprising loss to Afghanistan.
There is a growing consensus within the PCB that Babar has had his opportunity to prove himself as captain and has not delivered as expected. Potential candidates such as Sarfaraz Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi are reportedly being discussed as replacements for Babar's captaincy.
The PCB is preparing for future tournaments, including a tour of Australia immediately after the World Cup, and the 2024 T20 World Cup and 2025 ICC Champions Trophy. They have called on fans to continue supporting Babar Azam and the national team during the ongoing World Cup, expressing optimism that the team will regroup and perform better in their remaining fixtures in the round-robin stage.
"The PCB acknowledges the emotions and sentiments of cricket fans following the three consecutive defeats faced by the national team in the ICC World Cup 2023. In this challenging environment, the board administration hopes that the cricketing fraternity and fans will continue to support captain Babar Azam and the entire Pakistan cricket team," the statement added.
"The national team still has four crucial matches remaining in the round-robin stage, and the PCB is optimistic that the team will regroup, overcome the setbacks and perform positively and effectively in the upcoming fixtures," it added.