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HomesportscricketBabar's future as captain depends on WC campaign, hints PCB

Babar's future as captain depends on WC campaign, hints PCB

New Delhi: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday hinted that skipper Babar Azam’s captaincy could be on the line if the team’s campaign in the ongoing World Cup fails.

Pakistan are in a must-win situation against a marauding South Africa in Chennai on Friday and a loss will virtually end their hopes of progressing to the semifinals, as they have suffered three consecutive defeats in five matches so far.

“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.”

Pakistan have four points from five matches, having suffered consecutive defeats against arch-rivals India, Australia and Afghanistan.

Calls have grown for Babar to be removed from 50-over captaincy following the shocking eight-wicket loss to Afghanistan in Chennai.

“Only if Pakistan can stage a miracle and win all their remaining matches to qualify for the semifinals 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 reliable source close to the developments had said earlier.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi are reportedly being discussed as potential candidates who could replace Babar as captain when the national team returns home from the World Cup.

Pakistan are scheduled to tour Australia immediately after the World Cup. The team also needs to plan for the 2024 T20 World Cup and 2025 ICC Champions Trophy.

There is a clear consensus developing in the PCB that Babar has had his chance to prove himself and he has failed to deliver as captain, sources have said.

PCB said it was aware of the sentiments of the fans at home and urged them to continue supporting the skipper during the World Cup.

“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.

(Published 26 October 2023, 09:44 IST)

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