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Babar Steps Down: A New Chapter for Pakistan Cricket

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Babar Azam, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team, has announced his decision to step down from the captaincy in all formats. This revelation came on Wednesday, following his meeting with Zaka Ashraf, the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Interim Management Committee, in Lahore. Babar took to the social media platform X to share this significant decision with his fans and the cricketing community.

Reflecting on his captaincy journey that commenced in 2019, Babar expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead Pakistan. Despite experiencing both highs and lows on and off the field during the past four years, he passionately aimed to uphold Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricketing world. Acknowledging the collective efforts of players, coaches, and management, Babar credited Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support in achieving the number one spot in white-ball cricket.

The decision to relinquish the captaincy was described as a difficult one by Babar, who emphasized that it was the right time for this call. He assured his commitment to continue representing Pakistan as a player in all three formats, offering support to the new captain and the team with his experience and dedication. Babar Azam concluded his statement by expressing thanks to the PCB for entrusting him with the significant responsibility.

While Babar Azam did not explicitly state the reason behind his decision, it comes in the aftermath of Pakistan’s disappointing performance in the World Cup. The team faced setbacks, losing five out of nine games, including a significant defeat against India and an unexpected loss to Afghanistan.

Cricketers and former players reacted to Babar’s decision with messages of appreciation and support. Muhammad Rizwan, acknowledging Babar as one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan has ever seen, praised his honesty, love, integrity, and efforts for the country. Mohammad Hafeez recognized Babar’s hunger for runs as a significant contribution to the team’s success, while Saeed Ajmal thanked him for leading Pakistan’s ODI team to the number one spot.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) called it the “end of an era for Pakistan,” acknowledging Babar Azam’s impactful captaincy. Babar’s meeting with PCB chief Zaka Ashraf, captured by television footage, highlighted the attention and interest surrounding his decision, with fans and journalists eagerly awaiting his departure from the PCB headquarters at the Gaddafi Stadium.

As part of the ongoing assessment of Pakistan’s World Cup performance and preparations for the upcoming Test series against Australia, Ashraf also met team director Mickey Arthur, head coach Grant Bradburn, and other members of the interim management committee. Former captain Younis Khan and ex-pacers Wahab Riaz and Sohail Tanvir, who met Ashraf earlier, advised against wholesale changes and urged a focus on red-ball cricket, with potential coaching roles for former players to groom youngsters in Karachi.

Against the backdrop of the team’s failure to reach the World Cup semi-finals, bowling coach Morne Morkel had already resigned from Pakistan’s backroom staff earlier in the week. As the PCB navigates these changes, the cricketing community awaits further developments.

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