Pakistan Cricket Crisis: Zaka Ashraf's Alleged Audio Leak Reveals How PCB Plotted Babar Azam's Removal From Captaincy

Pakistan Cricket Crisis: Zaka Ashraf's Alleged Audio Leak Reveals How PCB Plotted Babar Azam's Removal From Captaincy

The 2 minute 15 second clip is being widely circulated on social media in which Ashraf can be allegedly heard saying how the PCB planned to sack Babar Azam as Pakistan captain in all three formats.

Rohan SenUpdated: Tuesday, December 19, 2023, 06:46 PM IST
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The predicament for embattled Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf appears to be deepening, with the emergence of a new leaked audio clip claiming to expose the primary reason behind the removal of Babar Azam from captaincy across all formats.

The 2-minute and 15-second audio recording is circulating widely on social media platforms, purportedly featuring Ashraf disclosing the PCB's strategy to oust Babar, among other revelations.

Leaked audio clip

In the audio, a voice resembling Ashraf alleges, "Hassan Ali played because he is Babar Azam's friend. There is a person called Talha (Aisham) who is an agent. He has 8 national team players under his control. He even goes to the homes of players and has good relations with their families as well. And the players don't even move without taking his permission.

"I had told Babar Azam to retain the Test captaincy but relinquish the white-ball captaincy. Instead, he insisted on stepping down from captaincy in all formats. I even had a plan B. When Babar left the captaincy, I said to the other man, ‘Chal bhai, ab tu captain hai.’"

The Free Press Journal cannot confirm the authenticity of the clip.

Zaka Ashraf vs Babar Azam

The discord between Zaka Ashraf and Babar Azam reportedly originated during the ICC World Cup 2023 in India, where Pakistan exited the tournament in the league stage after four consecutive defeats.

WhatsApp chat leak controversy

In November, WhatsApp chats between Babar and PCB Chief Operating Officer Salman Naseer surfaced, raising questions about whether the then-Pakistani captain had communicated with Ashraf in the midst of the World Cup, as suggested by local media outlets.

Following a review meeting in Pakistan subsequent to their World Cup exit, Babar Azam was removed from captaincy by the PCB. Shan Masood assumed the role of Test skipper, while Shaheen Shah Afridi was appointed T20I captain. However, the ODI captaincy position remains vacant.

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