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Babar Azam: From Star Batsman to Pakistan’s White-Ball Captain Once Again

In a decisive move ahead of the highly anticipated 2024 T20 World Cup, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has entrusted the leadership reins to the formidable Babar Azam. The right-handed batting maestro, who previously stepped down as captain across formats, will now spearhead the national team in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20Is. The announcement was made by PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi, following unanimous recommendations from the selection committee.

A Strategic Decision

Babar Azam’s appointment as white-ball captain underscores the PCB’s strategic vision for the upcoming T20 World Cup. With the tournament set to kick off on June 1, all eyes are on Azam’s leadership prowess and his ability to galvanize the team. His track record as a batsman is impeccable, and now he carries the added responsibility of guiding Pakistan to glory in the shortest format.

The Shaheen Afridi Era

The transition of captaincy has been eventful. After the conclusion of the ICC World Cup 2023, Babar Azam relinquished the captaincy across formats. The dynamic left-arm pacer, Shaheen Shah Afridi, briefly took the helm in T20Is. However, the five-match series against New Zealand in January 2024 did not go as planned, with the Green Shirts suffering a 1-4 defeat. Questions arose about Afridi’s suitability as captain, especially after his Lahore Qalandars side struggled in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season nine.

Babar Azam’s Leadership Journey

Babar Azam’s leadership journey has been a mix of promise and challenges. He has captained Pakistan in five international tournaments, including the T20 World Cups of 2021 and 2022, the Asia Cup in 2022 and 2023, and the World Cup in 2023. Despite his astute cricketing acumen, the coveted ICC and Asia Cup titles have eluded him under the national flag.

Shan Masood Retains Red-Ball Captaincy

While Azam takes charge of the limited-overs formats, Shan Masood continues as the red-ball skipper. Masood’s steady approach and experience will be crucial in Test cricket, where Pakistan faces unique challenges. The dual-captaincy model aims to strike a balance between youth and experience, ensuring stability across all formats.

The Road Ahead

As Babar Azam prepares to lead Pakistan into battle, the T20 World Cup promises high-octane clashes, nerve-wracking moments, and the thrill of cricket at its finest. The nation rallies behind its new white-ball captain, hoping that this chapter in Pakistan cricket history will be etched in golden letters.

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