Babar Azam announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down as the Pakistan cricket captain in all formats.
He made the announcement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), shortly after he met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Interim Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf in Lahore.
In his statement, Babar said, “I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019. Over the past four years, I’ve experienced many highs and lows on and off the field but I wholeheartedly and passionately aimed to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricket world.”
He said that reaching the number one spot in white-ball cricket was the result of the “collective efforts of players, coaches, and management but I’d like to express my gratitude to passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support during this journey”.
“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it is a right time for this call. I will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats. I am here to support the new captain and the team with my experience and dedication,” he said.
“I want to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility,” Babar concluded.
Although Babar did not mention a specific reason for his decision, it comes after the team’s disastrous performance in the World Cup. The Green Shirts lost five of their nine games including a seven-wicket mauling by India in front of more than 100,000 fans in Ahmedabad. Pakistan also lost to Afghanistan for the first time.
Earlier today, Babar had also met the PCB chief in Lahore. Footage aired on television had shown Babar’s car being hounded by fans and journalists as he left the PCB headquarters at the Gaddafi Stadium.
According to sources, Ashraf had also met team director Mickey Arthur, head coach Grant Bradburn and other members of the interim management committee.
Former captain Younis Khan and former pacers Wahab Riaz and Sohail Tanvir had met Ashraf on Tuesday as the PCB began its inquest on Pakistan’s performance at the World Cup and plans for the upcoming Test series against Australia.
It was learnt that the trio had advised Ashraf not to make wholesale changes ahead of the tour of Australia.
With ODI cricket not high on the agenda for the next years, the former players had also instructed the PCB chief to shift focus to red-ball cricket and it was also learnt that Younis might be offered a coaching assignment to groom youngsters in Karachi.
It should be recalled that earlier this week bowling coach Morne Morkel had become the first man to quit Pakistan’s backroom staff following the team’s failure to reach the World Cup semi-finals.