Babar Azam should quit captaincy & focus on his batting: Ex-Pak players

Karachi: Several former Pakistani cricket stalwarts, including Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq, feel that skipper Babar Azam needs to give up captaincy and concentrate on his game following a dismal World Cup campaign under his leadership.

Pakistan failed to qualify for the semifinals following five defeats in nine matches.

They felt that Babar had got his share of chances as a leader but failed to deliver.

“I am not against Babar but he has to decide after looking at his performances as a player and captain whether he can continue to take the pressure of both,” said Malik during a reception here on Monday.

“I think we need Babar more as a player. As a captain, he has got his chances to show his worth. Unfortunately, he didn’t come through,” he added.

Razzaq pointed out that Babar had been captain since late 2019, and four years is enough time to judge someone’s capability as a leader.

“I have always said this, if you are honest and sincere in your decisions as captain, things will work out accordingly. Unfortunately, he has made some wrong calls and that is the reason for our poor performance in the World Cup,” he said.

Akmal felt that not everyone can be a leader and also the team’s batting mainstay.

“He has to make up his mind. What the Pakistan Cricket Board decides is something different. But he has to realise that captaining the team and being the main batsman is not everyone’s cup of tea.”

“I think we need to have separate captains for red and white-ball formats,” he added.

Younis Khan, who captained the team that won the T20 World Cup in England in 2009, felt Pakistan could become better with a bit of fine-tuning.

“I don’t think there is a need for any massive changes; just a little fine-tuning and shuffling is required. And, yes, we have to work on finding one or two quality spinners. But this is not a bad team, and its performance in the World Cup is not a reflection of its worth,” he said.

Rashid Latif said the PCB chairman too should take the blame for the team’s performance.

“It happened in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. Why should only the captain be changed? What about the board chairman? Does he not have any responsibility?”

“First, the PCB has to put its house in order, then look at the team issues. I still say we didn’t play well in the World Cup, but if we have two good spinners, this same team will perform differently,” he said.

Shahid Afridi said a system has to be created to groom players to handle the pressure of big events.

“I thought our players didn’t cope well with the pressure in some matches,” he said, before adding that Babar should continue as captain for the upcoming tour of Australian in December.

Press Trust of India (PTI) is India’s premier news agency, having a reach as vast as the Indian Railways. It employs more than 400 journalists and 500 stringers to cover almost every district and small town in India.

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