Following a disappointing performance in the 2023 World Cup, maintaining their leadership positions has become a challenge for Babar Azam and the team management, which include head coach, Grant Bradburn and the team director, Mickey Arthur.
According to sources, discussions within the board about this matter commenced even before the match against England. The likelihood of Babar Azam continuing as the captain in white-ball cricket appears slim. Nevertheless, some quarters have proposed to Chairman Management Committee Zaka Ashraf that Babar should continue as captain during the Test series against Australia. A decision on this matter is expected in the coming days. There are also unconfirmed reports suggesting that Babar Azam may consider resigning as captain.
Simultaneously, the board is contemplating a shift towards appointing local coaches instead of relying on foreign ones. Contacts have been established with former cricketers in this regard. On a contrasting note, revelations have surfaced about the Pakistani team’s subpar performance in India. Sources indicate that former Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and Captain Babar Azam favored their preferred players, disregarding others’ opinions. The Cricket Committee, led by Misbah ul Haq, had recommended resting Shadab Khan, but Babar Azam insisted on keeping him as vice-captain. In a meeting to assess the team’s performance in the Asia Cup, Inzamam avoided attending to evade criticism from Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq.
Further details reveal that Inzamam also intervened in the selection of the playing XI upon reaching India, pressuring the inclusion of his nephew, Imam-ul-Haq, leading to Fakhar Zaman being benched. Babar Azam also allegedly ignored the opinions of board officials multiple times. Before heading to India, players were primarily focused on increasing remuneration in central contracts and claiming a share of the ICC revenue. An anonymous board official expressed a sentiment of players potentially blackmailing the board.
Additional sources disclose that three to four players from the playing XI harbored discontent with Captain Babar Azam. They believed that during central contract negotiations, Babar favored increasing his own remuneration and of a select few, negatively impacting the team’s overall environment.