Babar Azam stepped down from his role as the captain of the Pakistan cricket team after his team endured a heartbreaking elimination from the ICC ODI World Cup. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) urged Babar to retain the red-ball captaincy but failed to convince him. Shaheen Shah Afridi has replaced Babar as the new white-ball captain, while Shan Masood has been appointed as the skipper of the Test side.
Only a few days after making the shocking announcement, Babar was spotted grinding on his batting skills during a training session. The Pakistan batter dropped a video of the net practice on Instagram, with the caption reading, “Back in harness.”
As the ICC ODI World Cup is done, all teams will now shift their focus to bilateral assignments. Pakistan will fly off to Australia in mid-December to play a three-match Test series with the world champions. Despite leaving the leadership responsibility, Babar Azam will certainly be part of the travelling unit. Considering Pakistan’s schedule of upcoming matches, it can be understood that Babar has been preparing himself for the Australia tour as he wants to make a strong statement this time.
Apart from numerous fans, the Instagram video also caught the attention of Michael Vaughan. The former English captain commented, “Different class. Loads of runs Down under is my guess.” A Pakistani fan hopes to see Babar Azam in the “beast mode” during the Australia series. Another user predicted the right-handed batter would notch a double-century against the Pat Cummins-led side.
The Pakistan cricket team achieved several feats across all formats during Babar Azam’s tenure as the captain of the side. The period also saw Babar improve his batting quite well. He is now the fastest Pakistani batter to aggregate 1,000 runs in ODI cricket. Babar was also the first from his country to score three back-to-back centuries in the 50-over format.
Under his leadership, Pakistan were also able to clinch the top spot in the ICC ODI team rankings. But their performance was not up to the mark in the recently concluded World Cup. In their 9 appearances during the league stage, Pakistan managed to claim only four victories. They finished fifth in the points table, falling marginally short of reaching the semi-finals.
Babar Azam also failed to showcase his A-game in the multi-nation tournament. He accumulated a total of 320 runs in 9 games at an average of 40. The 29-year-old slammed four half-centuries but could not convert any of them to a big score.