Sunday, November 12, 2023
In order to take morale of "depressed" Babar Azam — Pakistan team captain — high after the Green Shirts’ disappointing performance and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 loss, the team’s director Mickey Arthur on Sunday said that It's not a crime to make mistakes.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that disappointed by the behaviour of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and former cricketers, Azam is likely to step down as the captain of white-ball cricket after returning from India.
The reports further claimed that the skipper was facing pressure from fellow cricketers to step down from the captaincy's role due to the team's poor performance.
The Green Shirts failed to perform in the mega event and only won four out of eight games. They are currently in fifth position with a net run rate (NRR) of 0.036.
Speaking during the Geo News programme 'Harna Mana Hai', former all-rounder Abdul Razzaq said that Babar should quit the captaincy himself and make an example out of it.
Arthur said, "I get behind Babar. Babar is very, very close to me. He's a young guy that needs to be taken on the journey, he needs to be shown the ropes."
Azam has been captain of the Test and ODI teams since 2020.
"He's still learning all the time. We know he's a very, very fine batsman. He learns every day with his captaincy," added Arthur.
"We have to allow him the time to grow. And in order to do that, you make mistakes. It's not a crime to make mistakes as long as you learn from those mistakes."
Despite the despondency of fans at home, Azam and his team found sympathy in India.
Only a smattering of Pakistan fans — mostly expatriates — were at the venues as visa complications effectively meant a ban on those wishing to cross the border.
As a Pakistan squad playing in India for the first time in seven years, they were virtually confined to hotel rooms once playing and training commitments were completed.
Security details would accompany players and squad members if they wanted to venture outside their hotel.
Arthur compared the situation to touring "in Covid times".
Former Pakistan captain and ex-chairman of the country's cricket board Ramiz Raja said that 29-year-old Azam was "depressed" over the reaction at home.
Fans' anger would have been made more acute by seeing arch-rivals India sweeping to eight wins out of eight, becoming the first team to reach the semi-finals.
Pakistan also lost to Afghanistan for the first time.
Azam made 320 runs at the World Cup with four fifties at an average of 40 and remains the world's second highest-ranked batsman. He has almost 13,000 runs in all international cricket.
However, it was his captaincy in India which was questioned when he faced accusations of lacking aggression in field settings.
Pakistan media consistently accused him of favouring his friends in selection.
Raja believes that Azam may become the first victim of bloodletting in a Pakistan cricketing environment often plagued by infighting.
"There's so much pressure on him that he may leave the job," Raja told the BBC's Test Match Special.
"Back home there has obviously been a massive backlash, as expected. The Pakistan media have targeted certain players, and especially Babar Azam.
"It's just a World Cup so you have to take the heat somehow. The problem with this team is it has the potential to play modern-day cricket but they have been a bit shy and timid with their approach."