Babar Azam to return as Pakistan captain

After a period of uncertainty surrounding Pakistan’s cricket team captaincy, there are strong indications that Babar Azam will reclaim the leadership role under the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). This development, confirmed by sports journalist Qadir Khawaja, comes after Babar’s previous stint as captain ended following Pakistan’s disappointing performance in the ICC World Cup 2023 held in India.

The Men in Green’s lackluster campaign in the World Cup saw them fail to qualify for the knockout stage, managing to secure only four wins throughout the tournament. Consequently, Babar decided to step down from the captaincy across all formats of the game.

Former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf revealed that he had urged Babar to continue leading the Test team, but Babar sought advice from his family members before making a decision. Despite Zaka Ashraf’s recommendation, Babar eventually opted to relinquish the captaincy altogether, influenced by advice from his manager.

Subsequently, Shan Masood was appointed as the Test team captain for a challenging three-match series in Australia, where Pakistan suffered a 0-3 whitewash at the hands of the formidable Australian side led by Pat Cummins.

In the T20I format, Shaheen Afridi took over the captaincy but faced a tough start as Pakistan faced a heavy defeat against New Zealand in a five-match series, with the Kiwis emerging victorious with a scoreline of 4-1.

Babar Azam’s resignation as captain has coincided with Pakistan’s slide in performance, prompting speculation and anticipation for changes in team management and leadership under the new PCB chairman, Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi, who has taken charge for a three-year tenure.

The appointment of the new PCB chairman comes after former Pakistan player Ramiz Raja’s tenure as the last full-time chairman. Prior to Raja’s tenure, Najam Sethi and Zaka Ashraf had briefly led the board as interim heads, with Zaka Ashraf departing from the organization in January this year, paving the way for new leadership and potential changes in Pakistan cricket’s direction and strategies.