Pakistan Stars Divided In Reaction After Babar Azam Quits Captaincy

Babar Azam’s decision to step down from Pakistan captaincy has evoked a mixed reaction from his teammates, with a few of them taking to social media to praise the 29-year-old’s contributions as the leader while some others remained silent. Babar on Wednesday had announced his decision to relinquish Pakistan leadership roles across formats after the team failed to enter the semifinals of the ongoing World Cup. Pacer Naseem Shah, who had missed the marquee event with an injury, took to X to extend his support for Babar.

“Four years of pure joy, it has been an absolute honour to have played and made my white ball debut under your leadership.

“You have always led from the front and made us believe in ‘One Team, One Dream.’ “Inshah Allah, we will watch you break many batting records for our beloved Pakistan,” wrote Shah.

Wicketkeeper batter and often a deputy to Babar, Mohammad Rizwan too penned an emotional tribute.

“You are definitely one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan has ever seen.

“Your honesty, love, integrity, thoughts, and efforts for Pakistan as the captain are the things to look up to. May you continue to shine for Pakistan,” wrote Rizwan.

Middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmed too was effusive in praise for Babar’s captaincy.

“It’s been an honour to have represented Pakistan under your captaincy. I’ve been part of many highs and many lows during that period, but your resilience and determination always came on top.

“Looking forward to seeing you score heavily for Pakistan and that too from the best seat of non-striking end,” said Iftikhar.

There were talks of a rift in the Pakistan squad after their modest run in the World Cup, with a few players unhappy about the way Babar led the side.

Perhaps, it reflected in the silence of some of the other teammates such as Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, as all of them were backed strongly by Babar in the last three years.

A few former players such as Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Azhar Ali and Azhar Mahmood too appreciated Babar for leading the team well during his four-year tenure.

However, two discarded Pakistan players and Babar’s former teammates at Karachi Kings, Imad Wasim and M0hammad Amir made it clear that they didn’t believe that the right-hander warranted a place in the national T20 side.

“It is a tough call but Babar doesn’t deserve a place in T20s,” said Wasim.

Amir, echoed the sentiment, stating bluntly, “Babar doesn’t deserve to be in T20.” After Babar’s decision to move away, the Pakistan Cricket Board had appointed Shan Masood as Test captain and Shaheen Shah Afridi as T20I skipper.

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