All is not well for the Pakistan National Cricket Team captain Babar Azam since the appointment of the new cricket management committee and now he could lose the all-format captaincy following PCB’s wholesale review of the team structures, as per a report published in ESPNcricinfo.
Ramiz Raja, who was appointed as the 36th chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on September 13, 2021, was removed from his role on December 21, 2022, following Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in the three-match Test series against England at home.
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PCB patron-in-chief and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif approved the appointment of Najam Sethi and he was named the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Also, a 14-member management committee was formed that has 120 days to change the PCB’s constitution, bringing back the 2014 version that was replaced in 2019.
The senior officials of the new PCB management committee have indicated their willingness to signal to players and coaches that they will “challenge the status quo if necessary.” Such a challenge could lead to Babar Azam losing his all-format influence and Pakistan following a split-captaincy system.
The Najam Sethi-led management has been actively reviewing Pakistan’s recent performances and structures within the team and one of their first moves were to dismantle the Mohammad Wasim-led selection committee.
Shahid Afridi was appointed as the interim chief of the Pakistan Men’s National Selection Committee and Abdul Razzaq and Rao Iftikhar Anjum were named as the members of the selection committee with Haroon Rashid being Convener.
The new selection committee added extra players to the already announced Test squad for the series against New Zealand and announced the squad for the three-match ODI series against New Zealand.
Also, the current head coach of the Pakistan National Cricket Team, Saqlain Mushtaq, is likely to leave after his contract expires in February.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) To Carry Out Review After PSL 2023
The Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023, which will be the eighth season of the T20 league, is set to be played from February 13 to March 19 and the board is planning to carry out its review and make changes after the competition.
Meanwhile, the real stirring seems to be happening with the team itself. The 33-year-old Shan Masood earned a surprise ODI recall after missing out on 50-over cricket for the past three years. He last played ODIs for Pakistan National Cricket Team in 2019 in the five-match series against Australia National Cricket Team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Shan Masood was also named as the vice-captain by Sethi in the absence of Shadab Khan, who got ruled out of the series due to a finger injury he sustained in Australia, and ahead of the star wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan.
Despite being the vice-captain of the team, Shan Masood failed to get a place in the playing XI for the first two ODIs of the series. However, his elevation to the role has been read by some as a challenge to both his and Babar’s captaincy and is believed to have caused unrest and resentment among the core players, most of whom are loyal to Babar. Azam, as per the same report.
Babar is still delivering consistent performances with the bat, but his captaincy has come under scrutiny following Pakistan’s awful home season in Test cricket.
Meanwhile, the newly-appointed PCB chairman Najam Sethi wanted to bring back former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur, but it didn’t happen due to Arthur’s long-term contract with Derbyshire. Also, the Sethi-led administration wants to return to the status quo as it was in 2018. The board, however, has managed to bring back former women’s head coach Mark Coles on a one-year contract.