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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Shaheen Afridi to lead Pak in T20Is; Shan Masood new Test captain


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Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced that Shaheen Shah Afridi will take over as T20I captain and Shan Masood will be the Test captain after Babar Azam stepped down as captain across all formats.

A decision on the ODI captaincy will be made in due course, the PCB said.

The PCB also confirmed that there will be a sizeable change to the coaching staff heading into the tours of Australia and New Zealand in the coming months, an ICC report said.

“The PCB has changed the portfolio of the entire coaching staff including Director Cricket Mickey Arthur,” a statement read.

“All coaches will continue to work in National Cricket Academy while PCB will announce the new coaching staff in due course for the upcoming series in Australia and New Zealand.”

Earlier, Pakistan’s Babar Azam has stepped down as captain across all formats of the game following the team’s league-stage exit at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023

Babar has been the multi-format Pakistan captain since 2020, taking on the ODI and Test roles a year after he took charge of the T20 side.

But Pakistan’s disappointing campaign at the ongoing Cricket World Cup in India has led to the 29-year-old stepping down with immediate effect.

“I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019,” Babar said in a statement released on his social media channels.

“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,” he said.

“Reaching the number 1 spot in the white-ball format was a result of the collective efforts of players, coaches, and management, but I’d like to express my gratitude to passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support during this journey,” Babar said.

“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it is a right time for this call,” he said.

Pakistan lost five matches during the 2023 tournament, finishing outside of the semi-final qualification places. And Babar was largely off form with the bat, scoring 320 runs in his nine innings and having a top score of just 74.

The former top-ranked ODI batter in the world, who averages 56.72 in the format with 19 centuries to his name, says he will continue to be available to play for Pakistan in all formats going forward and will offer his support to whoever takes over as skipper.

” 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,” Babar said.

“I want to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility,” he added.

The PCB say that Babar “was asked to continue as Test captain” after being relieved of his duties in the white-ball formats, but opted to step down across all formats.

“Babar Azam is truly a world-class player and we want him to continue to thrive as a player,” Zaka Ashraf, Chairman of the PCB Management Committee, said.

“He is one of the best batters Pakistan has ever produced. He is our asset, and we will continue to support him. His batting prowess is a testament to his dedication and skill. He is a role model for the present generation,” Ashraf said.

“We want to see him grow as a great batter and now without his additional burden of the captaincy, he can focus more on his performances to reach even greater heights. We respect his decision and will continue to back him,” Ashraf added.

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