Pakistan star Babar Azam on Wednesday stepped down as the men's team captain from all three formats after the poor performance from his team in the ICC World Cup 2023 in India.
Babar has been facing flak for his captaincy after the Men in Green crashed out of the ODI World Cup in the league stage. Pakistan managed just four wins out of 9 ODIs in their campaign.
Babar said after Pakistan's last match of the tournament that he was keen to continue as the captain and "lead the rebuild" of the team therefore, his sudden announcement to step down comes as a surprise.
Babar's statement after stepping down
"I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019. Over the past four years, I've experienced many highs and lows on and off the field, but I wholeheartedly and passionately aimed to maintain Pakistan's pride and respect in the cricket world.
"Reaching the number 1 spot in the white-ball format was a result of the collective efforts of players, coaches, and management but I'd like to express my gratitude to passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support during this journey.
"Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It's a difficult decision but I feel it is a right time for this call," Babar said in a statement on X.
"I will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats. I am here to support the new captain and the team with my experience and dedication.
"I want to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility," he added.
Pakistan cricket crisis
The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf met with Babar on Wednesday after the PCB called for a review meeting to analyse the team's performance in India.
The PCB is set to make sweeping changes in the team management and the national squad in the aftermatch of their early World Cup exit.
The board has already sacked the entire selection committee and is set to get rid of the team's foreign coaches as well.
Bowling coach Morne Morkel stepped down from the post and is likely to be replaced by former Pakistan pacer Umar Gul.