Babar Azam's return as Pakistan captain imminent

Azam will replace Shaheen Afridi in the role ahead of New Zealand series

March 29, 2024

Babar Azam is one of the best batters in the world. - ICC

KARACHI: Babar Azam is set to return as Pakistan captain ahead of the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand on home soil, according to sources. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally taken the decision to reappoint Azam, who had stepped down as captain from all formats in November last year. 

The decision to bring back Azam as captain was taken after recommendation from the selection committee. 

Meanwhile, Shaheen was thinking about stepping down as T20I captain after the development. However, sources close to the pacer have advised him against it since appointing captain is the prerogative of the cricket board and whatever the PCB decides he should accept it. 

It must be noted that Shaheen replaced Azam as skipper in T20I cricket and Shan Masood in Tests last year.

The development comes after the PCB said that it will take the decision on Shaheen's future as the captain of the T20I side after the ongoing fitness camp in Kakul, which will conclude on April 8.

While talking at a presser after the announcement of the selection committee on March 24, PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi didn't talk much on Shaheen's future as captain.

"Even I don't know who the captain will be," Naqvi said. "Whether Shaheen continues or a new captain comes in will be determined after the fitness camp [starting on Monday].

"There are a number of technical factors we will consider, the details of which I do not want to go into. We want a long-term solution, whether it's Shaheen or a new man. And then we intend to stick by that man, instead of just changing a captain just because you lose a match or captain," he added.

Azam stepped down as the skipper of the national side from all formats, ending his years-long stint in the leading position, in November following a humiliating World Cup campaign.

The former skipper was under fire for several months after Pakistan failed to perform in the Asia Cup and continued the same momentum into the World Cup — where they crashed out before reaching the semis.

Azam was previously appointed white-ball captain in 2019 and as Test skipper in 2020, but the Green Shirts have not won any ICC or Asia Cup titles under his leadership.