Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik. Photo- X
Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik. Photo- X

Babar Azam should stay away from the captaincy of the Pakistan team, opined former cricketer Shoaib Malik. His words come after Pakistan lost both of their matches thus far in the T20 World Cup 2024 to the USA and India.

Former cricketer Shoaib Malik has urged Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam to step down. A string of poor performances has prompted questions about his competence as the team’s leader. The poor outcome versus India in the T20 World Cup appears to be the final nail in the coffin.

“I have been saying for a long time, please leave captaincy. You are a class player, and you will only be able to show your class when you do not have additional responsibilities on you. If Babar stays away from captaincy, it will be good for him. People keep talking about Babar and Rizwan’s strike rates, so you brought in Saim Ayub,” Shoaib Malik said on Ten Sports.

“Yesterday, it was a 120 chase; why were you trying to improve your strike rate yesterday? The platform was set in every manner. If, as a leader and a batter, your brain does kick in in these sorts of situations, when will it? I am forced to say today that the core of this team, in the T20I format, I think we have to stop backing them,” Malik added.

Pakistan failed to chase down 119 runs against India as Babar Azam made 13 and Mohammad Rizwan made 31 in 44 balls. Rizwan’s wicket in the 16th over by Jasprit Bumrah led to India making a huge comeback in the match, which they ultimately won by 6 runs in the end.

Shoaib Malik questions Mohammad Rizwan’s shot selection on his dismissal

Mohammad Rizwan had anchored one end of Pakistan’s innings and the Men in Green looked in control with 48 runs needed in 48 balls with 8 wickets in hand. However, Mohammad Rizwan decided to play a cross-bat shot on a length ball by Jasprit Bumrah in the 16th over, which changed the tide in India’s favor.

Malik also publicly questioned the shot selection of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan.

“I didn’t understand that shot from Rizwan. They brought back their main bowler to pick up a wicket, and Rizwan has been playing for so long and captaining in PSL. He should be familiar with the situation and put up his hand and say this is my match,” he said.

Prominent voices in Pakistan cricket have proposed that a change in leadership could reenergize the team. Babar’s leadership style, while solid, has been critiqued for lacking the aggressive, inventive edge that other successful international captains have demonstrated.

Also read: T20 World Cup 2024: “Everyone Is Quite Disheartened”- Azhar Mahmood On Pakistan Team Morale Ahead Of Canada Match