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Is Babar Azam returning as Pakistan captain?

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Is Babar Azam returning as Pakistan captain?

Babar Azam celebrates during the fourth ODI against New Zealand at the National Bank Cricket Arena in Karachi, on May 5, 2023. — PCB
  • Babar to “take up” several issues if offered captaincy, claim sources.
  • “Babar hasn’t yet made up his mind on accepting key role.” 
  • Star batter “likely” to meet PCB officials before leaving for Kakul camp.

LAHORE: Star batter and former captain Babar Azam is reportedly being considered for the leadership role once again, sources confided to Geo News.

According to them, Babar Azam, who returned to the country after performing Umrah, might meet Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials before leaving for Abbottabad training camp in Kakul.

Confirming the reports, sources close to the star batter say that the former skipper hasn’t yet made up his mind to accept the prospecttive captaincy offer, adding that the 29-year-old would “take up” several issues if he is offered the key post.

The rumours come after PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi’s comments during last week’s press conference wherein he said that the seven-member selection committee would decide on the team’s captaincy.

“Shaheen Shah Afridi will remain the captain or there would be a new skipper, this decision will be taken after deliberations,” the PCB chief said.

The development comes as the national side underwent a major shake-up following the team’s below par performance in the 2023 Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup which ultimately resulted in Babar’s resignation as the team’s captain in all three formats.

“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it is [the] right time for this call,” Babar said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

Following his resignation, the board appointed Shan Masood as Test captain, while Shaheen was tasked with leading the T20 format of the national team — the post of the ODI skipper was left vacant and the situation remains the same till date.

Earlier this month, Geo News, citing a local publication, reported that owing to his unimpressive performance in the Pakistan Super League season nine (PSL 9), the left-arm pacer, Shaheen, was at risk of losing his captaincy ahead of the T20 World Cup slated for June later this year.

The rumoured change in the Green Shirt’s leadership comes as the national side is also in search of a head coach after Grant Bradburn stepped down from the said post after board had transferred his duties at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore following a change in the portfolios of several senior officials.

A day earlier, sources told Geo News that the PCB approached former New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman Luke Ronchi to coach the national side’s head coach.

The ambiguity surrounding the future of the national side’s captaincy comes as the team is set to go up against New Zealand in a home T20I series, away T20I series against Ireland and England and above all the upcoming T20I World Cup.

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