Malik and Yousuf exchange words over Babar Azam's captaincy

Shoaib Malik had expressed that he believes Babar Azam can do wonders but only as a batter

By Web Desk
October 17, 2023
Mohammad Yousuf opined Shoaib Malik should not have made comment during the World Cup 2023 - AFP

Pakistan endured a resounding defeat at the hands of India, falling by seven wickets in the ICC Men's World Cup 2023 held in Ahmedabad this past Saturday.

This setback provoked former Pakistan captain, Shoaib Malik, to offer remarks about the present captain, Babar Azam, with respect to his leadership capabilities.

While talking on a local sports show, Malik expressed that he believes Babar Azam can do wonders but only as a batter.

"I gave an opinion in the past as well that Babar Azam should leave captaincy. This is my personal opinion. Babar does not think out of the box as a captain. He is doing captaincy, but the improvement is not coming. He can do wonders for Pakistan as a player," Malik said.

Malik's remarks, however, were met with robust opposition from the Pakistani cricket legend Mohammad Yousuf. He held the view that such comments were poorly timed, particularly considering the substantial pressure the team was already under during a World Cup. Yousuf stressed the importance of retaining Babar as the captain, drawing a comparison with the successful leadership of the former captain, Imran Khan.

“During the World Cup, I don't think anybody should talk about this. Secondly, Imran Khan captained in 1983 and 1987 and lost both times before winning on his third attempt in 1992. Any good player should be allowed to continue as a captain for a long time. He is the captain because he has the ability. He did not become the captain because he is related to the PCB chairman. He is a genuine skipper," Yousuf said.

The 49-year-old not only reprimanded Malik but also expressed disagreement with the legendary cricketer Wasim Akram, who was part of the discussion panel.

"So talking about him in this manner is a loss for Pakistan and for him as well, especially amid the immense pressure post that loss against India. I am shocked that Wasim Akram, who was sitting there, did not stop him either,” he further said.

In response to Yousuf's critique, Malik acknowledged the respect he holds for Yousuf as a fellow sportsman. However, he steadfastly maintained his right to voice his opinions when questioned. Malik also conveyed an expression of affection towards Yousuf.

"I have had a great time with Yousuf bhai. I really respect him. However, it was my point of view, it is my right that if somebody asks me a question, I'll definitely respond to it. If you understood the question and understood my answer, there would be no need to talk on a channel. Other than that, Yousuf bhai, I love you," Malik concluded.