World Cup: Pakistan star resigns as captain after World Cup failure

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Babar Azam has resigned as Pakistan captain after his team failed to advance from the group stage at the Cricket World Cup.

“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats,” the batter said in a statement on Wednesday.

“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.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board named Shan Masood as the new test captain and said the left-handed opener will stay as skipper through the World Test Championship cycle of 2023-25.

Masood’s first assignment will be Pakistan’s tour to Australia next month where it is scheduled to play three test matches.

Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi was named T20 captain with Pakistan scheduled to play a five-match T20 series in New Zealand in January after the tour of Australia.

The PCB also said it will name the new ODI skipper in due course.

Babar, now former captain, thanked the PCB for choosing him as all-format captain four years ago and said he will continue to support the new captain and “the team with my experience and dedication.”

Babar scored 320 runs in nine World Cup games at an average of 40 in the ongoing edition. Pakistan won four of its nine games and missed the semifinals after finishing fifth.

“I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019,” Babar said. “Over the past four years, I’ve experienced many highs and lows on and off the field, but I wholeheartedly and passionately aimed to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricket world.”

Babar met with the chairman of the PCB managing committee, Zaka Ashraf, in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss the team’s performance at the World Cup.

The PCB said in a statement that Babar had been asked to continue as test captain “so that he could focus on one format” but he decided against this.

“Babar is truly a world-class player and we want him to continue to thrive as a player,” Ashraf said. “He is one of the best batters Pakistan has ever produced.”

Ashraf said that without the “additional burden of captaincy,” he hoped that Babar “can focus more on his performances to reach even greater heights.”

During Babar’s tenure as captain, Pakistan rose to No. 1 in the ODI rankings, but there was a sharp decline in the team’s performance before the World Cup in India.

Pakistan couldn’t qualify for the Asia Cup final despite qualifying for the Super 4 stage of the tournament.

In the absence of injured fast bowler Naseem Shah, Pakistan struggled in the World Cup too, losing to rival India, Australia, Afghanistan, South Africa and England while its four victories came against Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Bangladesh and New Zealand.

Pakistan’s below-par performance in the World Cup led many former test cricketers, including Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal, to criticize Babar’s captaincy.

But Babar’s teammate Mohammad Rizwan lauded Babar’s efforts as skipper.

“You are definitely one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan has ever seen,” Rizwan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “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.”

The PCB said that it has planned to change the entire coaching staff for the twin tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Pakistan fast bowling coach Morne Morkel also resigned Monday with one month left on his six-month contract.

Director of cricket Mickey Arthur will continue to work at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

Source: 9News

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