Former cricketer Shahid Afridi said Monday that the Green Shirts’ skipper Babar Azam failed to deliver and prove himself as a leader and captain ever since being handed the highly important responsibility.
The Babar-led side, ranked fifth on the points table, crashed out of the World Cup 2023 after losing five of their nine matches in the tournament showcasing a rather underwhelming performance in all three departments.
“As much of a star Babar is as an individual player, it was my wish that he also makes his way in the list of the top [cricketing] captains,” Afridi said during an event in Karachi.
Flanked by several ex-cricketers including Misbah Ul Haq, Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmanl, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul, Afridi said that the 29-year-old batter didn’t deliver as a captain as it was expected of him.
“We believed that in his three to four years [of captaincy] Babar would have groomed and would’ve proved himself as a captain and a leader. But this didn’t happen, we [have] seen a lot of mistakes [from him],” the former allrounder said highlighting that the top batter’s role as skipper was never threatened during this time.
“A leader should be steadfast and must know how to lead the team […] a leader doesn’t have one or two [favourite] players” he added. while stressing that a leader must ensure consensus amongst his teammates.
“Younis Khan didn’t make unilateral decisions [during his captaincy], he used to take all of us in confidence and seek advice [regarding his decisions],” Afridi said while stressing that a leader must ensure consensus amongst his teammates.
“A leader should have such qualities,” he concluded.
Babar, the right-hand batter, has been under scrutiny for Pakistan’s disappointing World Cup run and early elimination from the mega-event.
Meanwhile, the team has returned to the country in groups, as another batch of players — including Agha Salman, Imam-ul-Haq and Shaheen Shah Afridi — already arrived in Lahore from Kolkata via Dubai, while some headed straight to their hometowns.
Babar should lead Green Shirts in Australia tour
Expressing his views on who should lead the national side in the upcoming tour to Australia, Afridi said that Babar should be kept as captain for the highly anticipated tour scheduled to commence on December 14.
The ex-skipper was of the view that one has to know how to handle pressure in major events and one cannot win in light of so many cricketing mistakes.
Afridi’s remarks come as the 29-year-old has been seeking guidance on his future, consulting with former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja and people close to him, sources reported.
Babar’s close aides are advising him to step down from leadership in all three formats with his inner circle suggesting him to step down from captaincy roles in both red and white-ball cricket.
Earlier in the day, Morne Morkel stepped down as the Pakistan cricket team’s bowling coach — becoming the first casualty of the national side’s elimination from the mega event.
The former South African fast bowler — who had signed a six-month contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Meanwhile, sources say that former cricketer Umar Gul, who has already served as the team’s bowling coach in the past, is expected to take on the role once again.
“I have represented Pakistan before and will do it again if I get the chance,” Gul said while highlighting that the board has not yet contacted him for the post.