Babar Azam's Departure From Captaincy Marks A Critical Moment In Pakistan Cricket Where Player Power Has Received A Jolt

Babar Azam's Departure From Captaincy Marks A Critical Moment In Pakistan Cricket Where Player Power Has Received A Jolt

The former Pakistan skipper's decision to step down from all formats augurs well for his individual batting performances

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Friday, November 17, 2023, 03:43 PM IST
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Pakistan had a horrendous World Cup campaign in India coming into the tournament as the No 1 ranked ODI side in the world and the fall out of the exit was imminent.

Their captain at the World Cup, Babar Azam, was relieved of his responsibilities in the white-ball formats and was asked to continue as Test captain, which he declined.

Babar relinquished captaincy in all formats and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed Shaheen Shah Afridi as captain of the T20I team and Shan Masood as their Test captain in an attempt to bring about fresh thoughts and ideas at the leadership level.

Some cricket observers are also seeing this as the end of player power in Pakistan cricket as Babar, who was made captain for the first time in October 2019 in T20Is, was given full powers by the boards who appointed him as skipper.

The fact that he was the best batsman by a mile in the Pakistan team and one of the best batters in the world contributed to the power and respect that he was commanding.

The problem with power that is unquestioned and unaccountable is it can lead to complacency and eventually invincibility and that is exactly what has transpired with Babar.

The former skipper kept some players in the team as per his own likes and dislikes disregrarding others who were deserving and yet kept getting ignored.

There was a big clamour for Fakhar Zaman and Shan Masood to open the batting for Pakistan at the World Cup.

Pakistan had completely missed the bus when it came to the evolution of ODI cricket with the team struggling to score at run-rates of over 6 consistently.

Babar and Rizwan would seldom bat at a fast clip and take their time to get settled before getting on with the game.

It was a complete disappointment as it dented Pakistan's chances in many a game during the World Cup including against India, where they put up a timid effort in front of more than 100,000 spectators at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

It's a well-known fact that the captaincy and coaching positions in Pakistan cricket is like a game of musical chairs.

Stop-gap arrangements are another facet of how the PCB operates with Mohammad Hafeez, who is appointed as the Director Of Cricket Operations will also double up as Pakistan's head coach for the Australia and New Zealand tours.

Kamran Akmal made a statement about Babar being one of the contenders who can break Virat Kohli's world-record 50 ODI centuries.

Although, that seems an aspirational statement to make Babar will have to really crank up his batting prowess to get anywhere close to that record.

For the moment though, the politics aside, getting rid of captaincy will certainly aid his batting efforts for Pakistan going forward.

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