“Keen To Lead…”: Did Babar Azam Just Reveal His Pakistan Captaincy Future After World Cup?

Pakistan captain Babar Azam didn’t hide his disappointment after a humiliating 93-run defeat to England in their last World Cup game in Kolkata on Saturday but hinted that he would like to lead the national team during its rebuilding phase in white-ball cricket. “We will sit together and take stock. We’ll take positives from this and discuss mistakes. I’m keen to lead the rebuild,” Babar said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Pakistan couldn’t qualify for the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup for the third consecutive time. “Yes, very disappointed with the performance. If we had won the South Africa match, it could have been a different story. But yes, have made mistakes in bowling, batting and fielding,” Babar summed up his team’s campaign where they lost five out of nine games.

Babar admitted that his spinners – Mohammed Nawaz and Shadab Khan – not taking wickets in middle overs became crucial.

“We conceded a few too many runs. We bowled a few loose deliveries towards the end. And our spinners’ aren’t taking wickets, which doesn’t help. That has a big effect because you need to take wickets in the middle overs.”

Babar Azam is a young man on a steep learning curve and someone, who needs to be hand held in this tumultuous journey called international cricket, feels Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur after his team failed to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.

Pakistan’s No 1 batter Babar failed to score even a single century in the global showpiece and his captaincy came under the radar with team losing five of its nine league games, playing brand of cricket which former skipper Ramiz Raja termed “very 80s”.

“We were a real tight knit unit. I get behind Babar. Babar is very, very close to me. He’s a young guy that needs to be taken on the journey with. He needs to be shown the ropes,” Arthur said after Pakistan ended their campaign with a 93-run defeat, their fifth in nine matches.

The criticism primarily centred around his lack of aggression and his decision-making abilities on the field as many former Pakistan cricketers suggested that his captaincy is weighing on him.

“He’s still learning all the time. We know he’s a very, very fine batsman. He learns every day with his captaincy. He’s growing and we have to allow him the time to grow. And in order to do that, you (have to allow him to) make mistakes,” Arthur said.

“It’s not a crime to make mistakes as long as you learn from those mistakes and as a group, we’ve made a lot of mistakes this World Cup but if this group grows and learns from it, we’ve got the core of a very, very good side,” he said.

He further stressed on the need to shut the outside noise and look forward with focus on creating a stable environment.

“There’s always outside noise, whatever World Cup you are at there’s outside noise. The key for us as leaders within that group is to make sure that we make the players deaf to that outside noise.

“As I say, for us as a group and us as a team, particularly for us as leaders, we’ve got to create a stable environment,” he said.

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