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Babar Azam Reinstated as Pakistan’s T20 Captain Amidst Leadership Overhaul

In a significant reshuffle of the Pakistan cricket team’s leadership, Babar Azam has been reappointed as the T20 captain, with Shaheen Shah Afridi stepping down from the role. This decision comes after the newly-formed selection committee recommended a change in captaincy, and PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi has confirmed Babar’s return to the position.

Babar Azam, who previously stepped down from all formats of captaincy following a disappointing World Cup campaign, will now lead the team in the upcoming five-match T20 series against New Zealand. His reappointment marks a full circle since his initial appointment as white-ball captain in 2019 and Test skipper in 2020. Despite his leadership, Pakistan has yet to secure any ICC or Asia Cup titles under his captaincy.

Shaheen Afridi, who had taken over the white-ball captaincy after the ICC World Cup 2023, is reportedly considering stepping down from the captaincy. Sources close to the bowler have advised him against this decision, but it seems that a change is imminent.

The PCB’s decision to reappoint Babar Azam aligns with the selection committee’s unanimous recommendation. Babar, at 29 years old, will also participate in the Kakul training camp as the captain, indicating the board’s confidence in his leadership abilities.

In addition to the captaincy changes, the PCB is also in the final stages of appointing separate coaches for white-ball and red-ball cricket. South African coach Gary Kirsten is expected to take charge of white-ball cricket, while Australian coach Jason Gillespie is likely to be appointed for red-ball cricket.

Discussions with both coaches are ongoing, and it is reported that Gillespie may assume responsibilities during Kirsten’s other commitments.

The coaching appointments come after a period of intense scrutiny for the Pakistan cricket team, following their failure to perform in the Asia Cup and a subsequent early exit from the World Cup. The PCB’s decision to appoint separate coaches for different formats suggests a strategic move to specialize coaching expertise and improve the team’s performance in international cricket.

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