In a significant shake-up in Pakistan cricket, Shan Masood is set to lead the national team in the upcoming Test series against Australia, signaling a potential end to Babar Azam‘s captaincy tenure. The decision comes on the heels of Pakistan’s disappointing performance in the ICC World Cup 2023, where they faced setbacks, including a surprising defeat against Afghanistan.
According to reports from Pakistani journalist Wajahat Kazmi, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to appoint Shan Masood as the captain for both Test and One Day Internationals (ODIs), while Shaheen Afridi is likely to take charge in the T20 format. This move is seen as a response to the pressure mounting on Babar Azam, who has faced criticism for his leadership during the World Cup campaign, where Pakistan won only four out of nine matches.
The decision reflects the PCB’s intent to revamp the team’s leadership ahead of the upcoming World Cup in 2024, with a focus on T20 cricket. Shaheen Afridi’s potential appointment as the T20 captain indicates a strategic shift in Pakistan’s approach to the shorter format.
Babar Azam, who has been at the helm, is reportedly under immense pressure and is speculated to face consequences if he doesn’t step down voluntarily. The PCB seems poised to make these changes to reinvigorate the team and improve its performance on the international stage. Babar Azam posted an emotional message after stepping down from captaincy.
Babar Azam’s message
“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,” Babar said in a statement announcing his decision. “Reaching the No. 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. 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 PCB for entrusting me with this significant responsibility.”
Shan Masood, known for his solid batting technique, will have the responsibility of leading the team in the longer format, facing the tough Australian challenge. Meanwhile, Shaheen Afridi, an impactful fast bowler, is expected to bring his aggressive style of play to the T20 leadership role.
The cricketing community awaits official confirmation from the PCB regarding these captaincy changes, as Pakistan looks to regroup and build a competitive squad for future challenges.