Sethi backs Babar Azam as captain for now
LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board’s interim management committee chairman Najam Sethi attempted to diffuse the prevailing discussion over Babar Azam’s all-format captaincy of the national team on Monday, stating on social media that the “status quo will remain intact” for now.
It effectively means that the sword remains hanging over Babar with Sethi stating that a final decision will be “subject to the success or failure of status quo” and that any controversy over the matter should be avoided.
Despite widespread rumours that he would be relieved of captaincy duties from one of the formats, Babar is now set to lead Pakistan in the five-match Twenty20 series at home against New Zealand which starts this week.
A five-match One-day International series against the Black Caps follows after the T20s, the result of which — according to Sethi’s statement on Twitter — could decide who leads Pakistan at the World Cup later this year.
“For months media and cricketing circles have been discussing pros and cons of retaining Babar Azam as captain in all formats of the game,” tweeted Sethi. “Since this decision is ultimately Chairman’s, I have sought views of Selection Committees headed by Shahid Afridi and now Haroon Rashid.
“Both Committees thought matter merited discussion but both later came to the conclusion that the status quo should be retained. I have subsequently publicly stated this position. In the final analysis my decision will be subject to the success or failure of the status quo.
“I will also be guided by what the Selectors and Director Cricket Ops and Head Coach have to say going forward. I expect they will be in the best position to advise me. Therefore we should support Babar and not make matters controversial in the interests of the national team.”
Dawn has learnt that there is a lobby in the PCB which is wishing to have a separate T20 captain for Pakistan and Sethi’s tweets came after he had stated in an interview on Sunday that the interim selection committee led by Afridi, appointed after the management committee took control of PCB affairs, wanted to replace Babar as Pakistan captain.
After Sethi’s tweets, Afridi also took to social media to state he hadn’t suggested the PCB to replace Babar.
“I spoke with Mr Najam Sethi who was kind enough to confirm he was not referring to me while commenting about Babar Azam’s captaincy. This has put the matter to bed,” Afridi tweeted on Monday, adding that he wished the best to Babar and the side for the New Zealand series.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2023