Pakistan cricket: Shaheen to lead in T20Is, Masood gets Tests captaincy
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made a series of changes to the Pakistan cricket team just after Babar Azam resigned as all-format captain. PCB appointed Shaheen Shah Afridi as their new T20I captain and Shan Masood as Test captain of the country’s cricket team. With no ODIs planned in the near future, the PCB is yet to appoint a captain for the format. The PCB said that the Pakistan captain in ODI format will be announced in due course.
View the full scorecard of South Africa and Australia, 2023 World Cup semi-final here
Meanwhile, former cricketer Mohammed Hafeez has been appointed as Director of Cricket for Pakistan.
Pakistan lost five of nine matches, including a shock defeat to Afghanistan in the 2023 World Cup, putting Babar’s leadership under the scanner.
The 34-year-old Masood has appeared in 30 Tests and scored 1,597 runs, including four centuries and seven half-centuries, but was overlooked for the Asia Cup and the World Cup. The PCB said Masood had been named captain until the end of the 2023-25 ICC World Test Championship cycle.
His first assignment will be a three-match Test series in Australia starting December 14.
Shaheen Afridi, T20I captain
Afridi’s first assignment as captain will be the five-match T20I series in New Zealand from January 12 to 21. The 23-year-old Afridi has captained Lahore Qalandars to two Pakistan Super League titles in the past two years.
PCB sacked Babar Azam as white-ball captain
The board also confirmed that when Babar met chairman Ashraf, he was relieved of the captaincy of white-ball formats only and told to take charge in Test matches, an offer he declined.
Pundits and critics had called for a change of guard and Babar was called for a post-mortem of the team’s performance by Zaka Ashraf, head of PCB’s management committee.
Babar made it clear that he will support the new skipper in every possible way.
“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 would like to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this important responsibility . . ,” he added.
Unrest in Pakistani cricket
Ashraf, on his part, also faced a lot of criticism when he made a statement in the middle of the tournament that the World Cup squad was made at the insistence of former chairman Inzamam ul Haq and skipper Babar.
He had said that a decision would be made at the end of the tournament and it was clear that Babar was not in favor of PCBs.
Babar captaincy record
During his tenure, Pakistan became the No. 1 ranked team in ODIs thanks to some solid performances at home on quiet pitches against second tier teams from SENA countries and relatively weaker Asian teams.
“Reaching the No. 1 spot in white ball formats was the result of the collective effort of players, coaches and management,” he stated.
He was named captain in 2019 and he admitted that he has experienced both highs and lows after he first received a call from PCB informing him that they had named him leader of the national team.
“Over the past four years, I have experienced many highs and lows, both on and off the field, but I have tried with all my heart and passion to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricketing world,” he said.