Pakistan’s men’s cricket team captain Babar Azam denied any knowledge of any potential change in the team’s leadership here on Thursday.

In a press conference today, Azam said that he had no idea if his captaincy was under threat amidst the arrival of the newly appointed Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ramiz Raja.

Addressing the rumours of the alleged differences within the team management over squad selection for the upcoming 2021 ICC T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman, Azam reiterated that chairman PCB and the chief selector had already denied the rumours. He said, “I had an input that I gave. This is not anyone’s team; this is Pakistan’s team. I am backing it and others should also do so.”

With the New Zealand ODI series set to begin today, Azam disregarded the fact that the visitors were missing a host of their regular players saying the team will not take the Black Caps lightly.

“You cannot take any team easy,” he said. “If they [New Zealand] had their main players, we would have enjoyed more.”.

Azam said the likely similarity in the playing conditions in the upcoming series with the ones in the World Cup in the Middle East should help the team adapt well.

The skipper emphasised that the team’s main focus was to improve the team’s middle order. He said, “We will try to go with our best combination.”

Babar said that that decision to pick three spinners in the first ODI against New Zealand will be taken after assessing the pitch on match day. The skipper said, “Our World T20 matches are in the UAE, and we are forming a team keeping in view that aspect as well. The more we utilise our spinners, it will be good for us.”

Talking about the selection of the newcomer Abdullah Shafiq, Azam praised the newbie’s significant improvement saying he could replace any underperforming opener in the future.

Babar has accepted the criticism with regards to the team’s fielding performance saying that the players were working on it and assured there would be some improvements in the upcoming series.

Earlier, rumours were circling that the PCB’s new chairman Ramiz Raja may choose to chop and change the team’s leadership if his expectations were not met.

In his press conference after taking over the board, Raja was coy over his assessment of Azam as the all-format captain. At the time he maintained that it was “too early” to give his assessment but he also added, “My expectations for Babar are the same as I had with Imran Khan.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here