Pakistan captain Babar Azam has come under fire after the Men in Green failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup 2023. Pakistan finished fifth in the 10-team group with eight points and five wins from nine matches. Babar Azam and Co arrived in Pakistan on Monday after their dreadful campaign and the captain has been targeted by several legends of the game in the country.
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Former Pakistan captains and players like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq said it was time for Babar to step down as captain because he failed to deliver despite being the leader for a while.
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Aifridi criticized Babar for the mistakes he made during the World Cup and said that the cricketer failed to prove that he is a good leader.
“I am a fan of Babar. Babar is a great player, to me he is like a younger brother. I wanted Babar to be in the list of best captains in the world. He’s been a captain for four years or so, never had a sword hanging over his head. We all supported him during this phase. We thought in three or four years he would be well groomed to handle the responsibility as captain. He modeled himself as a captain. But this did not happen. He could not improve in this period and he could not prove himself as a good leader. We have seen a lot of errors during the World Cup,” Afridi said on Monday.
Malik also said that Babar had a chance to prove his worth but failed.
“I am not against Babar but he has to decide after looking at his performances as a player and as a captain whether he can continue to put pressure on both,” said Malik. “I think we need more Babar as a player. As captain, he has a chance to show his worth. Unfortunately, it didn’t come through,” he said.
Razzaq pointed out that Babar made mistakes as a captain which affected Pakistan’s performance.
“I have always said this, if you are honest and sincere in your decisions as a captain, things will turn out accordingly. Unfortunately, he has made some wrong calls and that is the reason for our poor performance in the World Cup,” said Razzaq.
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Kamran Akmal also said that it is not easy for a player to be the main batsman of the side and captain as well.
“He has to make up his mind. What the Pakistan Cricket Board decides is a different matter. But he has to understand that captaining the team and being the main batsman is not everyone’s cup of tea. I think we need to have a separate captain for red and white ball formats,” he said.
Babar also received support from former players,
Younis Khan said Pakistan needed fine-tuning and were a much better side than they performed in the World Cup.
“I don’t think any massive changes are needed; just a little tweaking and shuffling is required. And, yes, we need to work on finding one or two quality spinners. But this is not a bad team, and their performance in the World Cup is not an indication of their worth,” he said.
Former captain Rashid Latif blamed the PCB chairman for the team’s performance.
“It happened in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. Why should only the captain be changed? What about the chairman of the board? Does he have no responsibility? First, the PCB has to put its house in order, then look at the staff issues. I still say we didn’t play well in the World Cup, but if we have two good spinners, the same team will perform differently,” he said.
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