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Babar Azam, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team, declared his resignation from captaincy across all formats. The announcement was made on a social media platform X (formerly Twitter), shortly after a meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Interim Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf in Lahore.
Azam’s leadership journey, which began in 2019 as the T20 captain and expanded to include Test and ODI teams in 2020, has come to an end, leaving behind a legacy that witnessed both triumphs and challenges.
Babar Azam’s Reflections and Gratitude
In a heartfelt statement, Azam reminisced about the moment he received the call from PCB in 2019 to lead Pakistan. Over the past four years, he navigated through numerous highs and lows on and off the field, always aiming to uphold Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricket world. The achievement of reaching the number one spot in white-ball cricket, according to Azam, was a result of the collective efforts of players, coaches, and management, and he expressed his gratitude to the passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support.
“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it is a right time for this call. I will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats. I am here to support the new captain and the team with my experience and dedication, I want to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility. ” – Babar Azam
PCB’s Response and New Appointments
The PCB responded swiftly to Azam’s decision, indicating that he was asked to continue as the Test captain while being relieved of the white-ball captaincy. The board expressed support for Azam’s choice after consulting with his family. Simultaneously, Shan Masood has been appointed as the new Test captain, while the responsibility of leading the T20 side falls on the shoulders of Shaheen Shah Afridi.
“After consultation with his family, Babar decided to step down, and PCB stands behind his decision.” – PCB Statement
Additionally, former Test captain Mohammad Hafeez has been named the team director, demonstrating the PCB’s strategic approach to the restructuring of leadership roles.
“He is one of the best batters Pakistan has ever produced. He is our asset, and we will continue to support him.” – Zaka Ashraf,
PCB Chief Meeting with PCB Chief and Cordial Resignation Babar Azam’s decision to step down followed a meeting with PCB chief Zaka Ashraf in Lahore. The footage aired on television captured the moment when Babar’s car was surrounded by fans and journalists as he left the PCB headquarters at the Gaddafi Stadium. The subsequent press release described the meeting as “cordial” and highlighted that Babar was asked to continue as the Test captain, focusing on one format.
“Babar was asked to continue as Test captain while he has been relieved of captaincy in white-ball cricket for him to focus on one format.” – PCB Statement
Despite the board’s offer to retain him as the Test captain, Azam opted for a full resignation, a decision that the PCB stated it stands behind after Babar consulted with his family.
Reactions from Cricket Fraternity
The cricket fraternity responded with a mix of respect, admiration, and best wishes for Azam’s future endeavors.
Teammates and fellow cricketers praised his leadership, with Shaheen Afridi, the newly appointed T20 captain, acknowledging Azam’s exemplary leadership, teamwork, and commitment to collective success. He said,
“Under your exemplary leadership, it’s been a privilege to witness true teamwork and camaraderie. Your forefront leadership and commitment to team unity and collective success are commendable.”
Muhammad Rizwan hailed Azam as one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan has ever seen, emphasizing his honesty, love, integrity, and contributions as captain. He stated,
“Your honesty, love, integrity, thoughts and efforts for Pakistan as the captain are the things to look up to. May you continue to shine for Pakistan.”
Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmad, Shahid Afridi, and Wahab Riaz, expressed gratitude for Babar’s services as captain.
“Best of luck for the new chapter in your career,” said Shadab Khan.
“It has been an honor to have represented Pakistan under your captaincy,” said Iftikhar Ahmad.
“Thank you for your meritorious services as Pakistan captain. You inspired the whole next generation of cricketers with your leadership, grace, talent, and performances. Hope you will continue to shine and rule as the journey is far from over!” said Shahid Afridi.
“You did an amazing job Babar. Taking the Pakistan team to the number one spot is an achievement of immense pride,” said Wahab Riaz.
Former all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez appreciated Babar’s services as captain. He said,
“Surely your hunger to get more runs contributed to winning matches for the team. Stay healthy and blessed.”
Ex-cricketer Saeed Ajmal thanked Babar for his services as captain and for taking Pakistan’s ODI team to the number one spot, He said,
“I hope that you continue to score runs for Pakistan even more than before. Keep smiling and stay fit. The team needs you at your best.
In the wake of Babar Azam’s resignation, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) swiftly announced the appointments of new captains for the Test and T20 formats. Left-handed batter Shan Masood is set to lead the Test side until the conclusion of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25. His inaugural challenge as captain awaits in a three-match Test series against Australia, slated to commence on December 14
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