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Babar Azam steps down as Pakistan all-format captain

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LAHORE: Top Pakistan batter Babar Azam has stepped down as all-format captain following the team’s dismal performance in the ongoing World Cup 2023, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

“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,” the right-handed batter said in a statement issued on X (Formerly Twitter).

The development came shortly after the 29-year-old met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.

Sources told ARY News that the PCB decided to retain Babar Azam as captain for the upcoming Test series against Australia scheduled to commence on December 14 next month.

The right-hand batter was apprised that the PCB would bring in a new captain for the white-ball format. The board has not yet decided upon who will replace Babar in the white-ball cricket, they added.

However, sources claimed, Babar was not in favour of retaining captaincy for any one format.

It is pertinent to mention here that the star batter was appointed white-ball captain in 2019 and as Test skipper in 2021.

Meanwhile, Babar Azam – in a statement – said that he will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats.

“I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019. 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,” the right-handed batter said.

He pointed out that Pakistan cricket team reached the number 1 spot in the white-ball format due to “collective efforts of players, coaches, and management”.

Azam also expressed gratitude to passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their “unwavering support during this journey”.

“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,” he said, acknowledging PCB for “entrusting me with this significant responsibility”.

Babar Azam’s captaincy and his future in the role came under question following the national team’s below-par performance in the World Cup 2023.

The team suffered five losses, the most in their World Cup history, including their first defeat against Afghanistan in ODIs also their first against South Africa in World Cups this century.

Under the batter’s leadership, Pakistan failed to qualify for the semifinals as they finished fifth in the standings with eight points.

READ: Pakistan to play four-day match against PM’s XI ahead of Australia Tests

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