“I Offered to Retain Babar Azam as the Captain in red ball cricket” : Ex- PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf

Recently, Pakistan appointed Babar Azam as their White Ball Captain, replacing Shaheen Afridi.

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Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf has revealed that he wanted to retain Babar Azam as the white-ball skipper. However, the right-handed batter wanted to remain captain across formats or step down completely.

Babar stepped down in 2023

The Lahore-born cricketer stepped down as captain across formats in late 2023 after the World Cup in India. However, the PCB recently reinstated him as the white-ball captain, replacing Shaheen Shah Afridi in T20Is after only one series.

Ashraf spoke to the media

Speaking to reporters in Lahore, Ashraf recalled advising Babar to feature only as a player, given that he found it challenging to handle the pressure of captaincy. As quoted by Cricket Pakistan.pk, he stated: “I offered to retain Babar Azam as the captain for red-ball cricket, but we wanted to appoint a new captain white-ball cricket. He responded by stating that if he were to be replaced as captain in one format, he would rather step down from captaincy in all formats. Consequently, I suggested that he should focus on playing as a team member for Pakistan, as it was clear that he was finding it challenging to cope with the pressure of captaincy.”

Babar Azam and Co. to resume national duty in the T20I series against New Zealand

The Men In Green will start preparing for the T20 World Cup 2024 with a five-game T20I series against New Zealand, beginning on April 18 in Rawalpindi. They will also play three T20Is each against Ireland and England ahead of the showpiece event.

Strict Training

The Pakistan squad were spotted carrying rocks uphill during their ongoing fitness camp at Abbottabad’s Army School of Physical Training (ASPT). A total of 29 players have been called up for the regime. Newly appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Mohsin Naqvi wishes to see a massive improvement in the squad’s fitness levels as well as the ability to clear the boundary on a much more regular basis. Recently, the players were spotted completing various obstacle courses and other drills to improve endurance. In one of the most extreme workouts of the camp, players were required to carry rocks over their heads while climbing uphill. The training camp began on March 25, and will end on Monday, April 8. In the past, the national team has often worked with the military in a bid to improve their fitness.

ICC T20 Cricket World Cup 2024

Pakistan are there in Group A with India, Ireland, and the USA. They reached the semi-finals and finals at the last two T20 World Cups, respectively. Their only title came in 2009 when they beat Sri Lanka in the final at Lord’s.

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