Sunday, May 14, 2023
ISLAMABAD: One of Pakistan's most successful captains, Babar Azam, will continue to lead the national team till World Cup 2023, which is scheduled to be held in India later this year, The News reported Sunday citing sources.
While an official announcement is yet to be made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the sources confirmed to the publication that officials comprising chairman Management Committee Najam Sethi, chief selector Haroon Rashid and Director Coaching Mickey Arthur has unanimously decided to repose trust in Babar as the captain of the team till the mega event.
Besides leading the team in the World Cup, he will also be seen captaining the team in all series and events in the run-up to the mega event.
These include the two Test match series against Sri Lanka, three-match ODI series against Afghanistan and Asia Cup to be hosted by Pakistan in September.
“Following a series of meetings over the last few weeks that also included online meetings and in-person meeting with Arthur in mid-April, the troika has decided to continue with Babar as the team captain till the World Cup.
"It is believed that since there was no potential candidate who can come even closer to his abilities as a cricketer and captain, the best and most sane approach is to continue with Babar as the captain till the ODI World Cup 2023,” the source confirmed to The News.
Besides, leading the team to World No 1 spot in ODIs (just for a couple of hours), Babar is also unbeatable on the batting chart in the format.
“His ability to handle the team in crunch situations and his personal contribution that makes him a leader who can lead the team from the front makes him one of the best not only in Pakistan but around the world as well.
"The decision to retain him as the captain till the World Cup was unanimous as all three officials during the meetings were convinced that Babar was standing alone at the top of captaincy aspirants list for the extravaganza,” the source maintained.
The decision to retain Babar as a captain laid to rest all speculations that the PCB is considering other options or there is more than one aspirant for the coveted position.
It was also learnt that Babar has already been taken into confidence over the decision.
“This has been primarily to seek his help and guidance when it comes to selecting team members for coming series including the Asia Cup and later for the World Cup. It is like a decision (stitch) in time saves the nine senario.
"Since Pakistan will host the Asia Cup and World Cup is also scheduled in the sub-continent, a timely decision always benefits in preparing well,” the source added.
Even Sethi in his recent interaction with the media hinted at retaining Babar as the captain till the World Cup. “I think there is no better option for the job," he had said.
In between, however, there were rumours that Arthur was not comfortable with Babar and he was more inclined towards giving the responsibility to Shan Masood.
But Shan has nothing to support his credentials as his 158 runs in eight ODI innings with less than 20 runs per innings and that too as a top-order batter didn't help his cause.