Ahead of Pakistan’s quest to achieve the impossible to prolong their stay in India for the 2023 World Cup, Babar Azam shut criticism surrounding his captaincy in the tournament. He hit out at pundits and urged them to directly message him their thoughts and opinions rather than going live on television amid the team’s unimpressive World Cup campaign.
However, if reports are believed to be true, Babar is all set to relinquish his captaincy role in the white-ball format post the campaign.
It hasn’t been the campaign that Pakistan or Babar looked forward to. They were certainly a semifinal prospect, if not a title contender, but an array of four defeats in the opening half of the tournament left them wounded, which included a shock loss to Afghanistan. And although Pakistan did bounce back to beat Bangladesh and New Zealand, their shot at making the semifinal with a game in hand is nothing less than an improbable task.
With Pakistan all but out of the 2023 World Cup, which was preceded by their inability to make the Asia Cup final in September, Babar’s captaincy has came under the scanner with veterans and experts questioning his ability to take on-field calls. Amid this, there were also a report of a rift in the dressing room with Pakistan team divided in two halves, the other being led by Shaheen Afridi.
Addressing the criticism ahead of Pakistan’s final league game in this World Cup, against England in Kolkata on Saturday, Babar said: “Everyone has their own point of view, their own way of thinking. Everyone is saying something different. He should be like this, or like that. If someone has to give me advice, everyone has my number. It is easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me some advice, you can message me.”
Despite defending his captaincy, a report in Geo Super revealed that Babar is likely to resign from the leadership roles in ODIs and T20Is post the World Cup in India as he has been seeking guidance from former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja and those close to him on his future. In fact, Babar was spotted having a lengthy discussion with Raja at the Eden Gardens on the eve of the England game as well.
The report further added that the suggestion was made to Babar based on the challenges prominent captains have faced in a Test series in Australia. Pakistan are likely to tour Australia in mid-December for a three-match red-ball contest. Babar is likely to take the final call after returning to Pakistan.