PCB set to reinstate Babar Azam as captain ahead of T20 World Cup

In a recent development, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering reappointing Babar Azam as captain ahead of the highly-anticipated ICC T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled to commence on June 2. Notably, Babar stepped down as Pakistan’s white-ball captain following their disastrous campaign in the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup held in India in October-November. This eventually paved the way for Shaheen Afridi to lead Pakistan’s T20 side.

It is worth mentioning that Shaheen was appointed as T20I captain given his leadership prowess in the Pakistan Super League, where he led Lahore Qalandars to two titles in 2021 and 2023. However, he failed to reflect on his strategies while captaining the national side in his first role as Pakistan captain in the five-match series against New Zealand, where they lost 4-1. Moreover, Earlier in March, Cricket Pakistan had reported that the 23-year-old’s T20I captaincy was under threat.

Initially, wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan emerged as a top contender to replace Shaheen, with Babar also being considered. However, recent developments suggested Babar as the primary candidate for the leadership role. Notably, PCB officials are near to finalizing their decision to reinstate the 29-year-old in the role.

After relinquishing white-ball captaincy, Babar also stepped down from red-ball leadership, and subsequently, Shan Masood was named as Test captain. Notably, Pakistan suffered a whitewash in the three-match Test series in Australia before losing the T20I series against the Black Caps. In addition, there has been a change in PCB leadership since then, with Mohsin Naqvi named as chairman succeeding Zaka Ashraf.

PCB chief hinted at a possible change in leadership regime in the T20I format

During his recent press conference in Lahore, Naqvi hinted at the possibility of a change in T20 captaincy. However, reports have suggested that Babar is hesitant to accept the responsibility again. Furthermore, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir have made reverse calls on their international retirements, making them potential inclusions in Pakistan’s T20I squad for the upcoming New Zealand series and the World Cup, respectively.

The reappointment of Babar has become a major concern now as Imad and Amir had previously criticized his captaincy and batting in the shorter format.