After a flop show in the ODI World Cup 2024, Babar Azam stepped down as Pakistan National Team’s captain from all three three formats. However, indications were there that Babar Azam was interested in leading the Pakistan side even after the World Cup debacle.
Babar Azam wanted to rebuild the team again with a fresh set of players but the Zaka Ashraf-led Pakistan Cricket Board was not in favour of keeping Babar Azam as the captain at least in the white-ball format. So, in the end, it all transpired with Babar Azam leaving the captaincy in all three formats.
Shan Masood was made the captain of the Pakistan Test side and Shaheen was named as the T20I captain. Since the conclusion of the ODI World Cup, Pakistan has played a Test series in Australia and is currently playing a five-match T20I series against New Zealand.
Pakistan was cleanly swept by Australia in the test series by 3-0 and now has lost the T20I series by 0-3 with 3 more T20Is to go. Babar Azam has failed as a Test and ODI captain but his T20I record had been impressive and removing him as the T20I captain of captain could backfire for the PCB. Let’s understand why:
1. Impressive T20I record as a captain
Under Babar Azam’s captaincy, Pakistan has played 71 T20I matches and has won 42 of them with an impressive win percentage of 64.61. Babar has led Pakistan in two T20 World Cups and has managed to reach in finals and semi-finals of both these World Cups. With such an impressive record in T20Is and the fact that the next T20 World Cup is just months away, it doesn’t sound a good idea to take away captaincy duties from Babar Azam in T20Is.
2. No proper succession plan
Babar Azam has been Pakistan’s mainstay on the batting front and has been churning out runs consistently for the Pakistan team in all three formats. He is looked up to by many youngsters not only in Pakistan but also in the team which makes him a de-facto leader of the pack which makes it easy for other players to perceive him as their leader and get behind him.
But after removing Babar from captaincy, PCB has appointed Shaheen Afridi as the next T20I captain who has been grappling with injuries from the past year or so. Even Shaheen’s pace has dropped considerably in the past year and hasn’t been able to take consistent wickets like he used to.
Also, being Pakistan's spearhead pacer in all the formats means that his workload needs to be managed and now with captaincy duties he will have to make sure that he plays all the T20I matches before the T20 World Cup which will not be an easy task to do. Apart from these were not many inspiring options in the Pakistan T20I squad who could have been appointed as captain.
3. The exuberance of Team Spirit and Bonding under Babar Azam
Pakistan Cricket team has been known for its divide and revolts among their players in the past which was one of the main reasons that despite having big stars and names in their team during the 90s and early 2000s they weren’t able to win many championship titles.
Although under Babar Azam’s captaincy also the team didn’t win any major title but they managed to pull above their weight and managed to get into the semi-finals and finals of two consecutive T20 World Cups. Moreover, the players of the team looked united and took a stand for each other which is one quality that used to be missing from the Pakistan team of the past.