'Disappointed, shocked': Matthew Hayden on Babar Azam's removal as skipper

29-year-old stepped down as Green Shirts' captain on Wednesday following team's poor performance in World Cup 2023

Sports Desk
Former Pakistan team mentor Matthew Hayden (left) and ex-skipper Babar Azam. — AFP/File
Former Pakistan team mentor Matthew Hayden (left) and ex-skipper Babar Azam. — AFP/File

Former Pakistan cricket team's mentor Matthew Hayden has voiced his concern and expressed disappointment over the removal of Babar Azam as the team's captain.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, the former Australian opener pointed out prevalent "structural" issues with Pakistan cricket and stressed that the problems fringe the country's sports culture and framework at large and aren't limited to individual leadership.

The ex-cricketer also criticised Babar's resignation as skipper and said that those "responsible" might have overlooked the right-handed batter's contributions as a player and skipper.

"Whoever was doing the numbers clearly wasn't looking at them when it came to Babar's performances as non-captain and captain. He actually had far better numbers as a captain. We're talking an average of 50 plus more. So he was a natural leader, a good choice. I think they have potentially shot the gun a little bit early in terms of leadership capabilities."

He added: "He [Babar] is still a young player, a dominant player in world cricket. So I am a little disappointed and a little shocked about the reaction."

Meanwhile, He highlighted the real reasons behind Pakistan’s below-par performance in the World Cup 2023.

“Naseem Shah was not there and Shaheen Afridi was not at his best [...] Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz failed miserably [whereas] Fakhar Zaman never arrived, but when he did, it was too late,” he added.

It is to be noted that Babar stepped down as the Green Shirts' captain in all three formats on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the board, on the same day, confirmed the appointment of Shan Masood as the Test captain of the Pakistan men’s cricket team, while Shaheen Shah Afridi has been named as the T20I captain.

Shan has been appointed captain till the end of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 with his first assignment being the three-match Test series against Australia in Australia commencing on December 14.

Left-arm pacer Shaheen will lead the national side in the T20I format and his first assignment as captain will be the five-match T20I series in New Zealand from January 12 to January 21.