The national team’s next limited overs home series against New Zealand may simply be another chance to get ready for the World Cup 2023, but rumours surrounding captain Babar Azam have placed him under close observation.
Despite being by far the team’s most productive batter, Babar’s job as Pakistan’s all-format skipper has come under scrutiny, making the series, which gets underway in Lahore later this week, a significant task for him.
Najam Sethi, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), recently made an attempt to dismiss the persistent rumours, although he stopped short of expressing his entire support for the 28-year-old batter.
Sethi said in a series of tweets on Monday that the topic of keeping Babar Azam as captain across all forms of the game has been debated in the media and within cricketing circles for months.
The PCB president continued by saying that in this respect, he also solicited the opinions of the selection committees led by Shahid Afridi and, as of late, Haroon Rashid.
1/3 For months media and cricketing circles have been discussing pros and cons of retaining Babar Azam as captain in all formats of the game. Since this decision is ultimately Chairman’s, I have sought views of Selection Committees headed by Shahid Afridi and now Haroon Rashid.
— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) April 10, 2023
“While both Committees felt that the topic needed consideration, they ultimately agreed that the status quo should be maintained. I’ve since made this stance known in public. In the end, whether the status quo succeeds or fails will determine my choice.”
With Najam Sethi’s justification, Babar Azam must be well aware that in order to demonstrate his mettle, he must make sure that his team offers all they have and defeats the visitors in both the ODI and T20I series.
During the series, he will field a side made up entirely of players, including return pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.
The captain won’t have any excuses, in contrast to the series against Afghanistan that Pakistan lost despite playing a backup squad.
The New Zealand cricket squad, captained by Tom Latham, landed in Pakistan on Tuesday to take part in five ODIs and as many T20Is.
High security precautions were in place when the crew was taken to the hotel after landing in Lahore. They will start working out on Thursday (tomorrow).
The ODIs will be played in Rawalpindi (April 27, 29) and Karachi (April 30, May 1), while the T20I matches will be played in Lahore (April 14, 15, 17) and Rawalpindi (April 20, 24). (May 3, 5, 7).
NZ all-rounder Daryl Mitchell stated they are thrilled to play T20 and ODI series in Pakistan after arriving there.
Young players on the squad have never played under these circumstances, he said. The player described the Pakistan visit as “difficult,” adding that Pakistan has a world-class squad.
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Young players will acquire experience here since the circumstances are quite different from New Zealand, he added.
The series is lengthy. We’ll do our best to play solid cricket.