"There's no one who can stand in front of him right now" - Rashid Latif supports Babar Azam amid captaincy criticism
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Rashid Latif threw his weight behind Babar Azam as the national side's captain across formats.
The recently crowned ICC Cricketer of the Year has been criticized for his captaincy in the recent past, which involved a humiliating 3-0 Test series defeat against England and a 2-1 ODI series loss against New Zealand at home.
While Babar successfully led Pakistan to the finals of the 2022 Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup 2022, the team fell short on both occasions. The newly appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) board is contemplating a new coach and a split captaincy among several aspects.
Stating that Pakistan should not make the mistake they made with Sarfaraz Ahmed in 2019, Latif said on his official YouTube channel:
"Whatever is happening to Babar right now, the same thing happened to Sarfaraz a few years ago. That was a big mistake and we raised our voices against that. It was a very bad move. We still haven't recovered from that."
Noting that the players who are reportedly complaining about Babar are not even close in comparison, Latif added:
"If you think you can do a reset after removing Babar from captaincy... you said that the players are complaining (about Babar). There's no one who can stand in front of him right now."
Babar has been leading Pakistan across all three formats since 2020. Under his captaincy tenure, the Men in Green secured their first ODI series win over Australia in 2002, with consecutive knockout finishes at the ICC T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022.
"There's only one guy who plays all the matches" - Rashid Latif laments the lack of leadership options
Shadab Khan, the current vice-captain of the side, is out injured. He sustained a fracture to his finger while playing for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League (BBL), causing him to miss the ODI series against New Zealand.
Another captaincy candidate comes in the form of Shaheen Afridi. The left-arm pacer, who has led his franchise Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), is still recovering from the knee injury he aggravated at the T20 World Cup 2022 final.
Citing the lack of leaders in the squad, Rashid Latif said:
“You tell me the options. How much does Shadab (Khan) play? He misses 50 percent matches due to injury. He is not an option. If Shadab is available throughout, I would've said myself that Babar can step down. Shaheen (Afridi) is out of injury as well. There's only one guy who plays all the matches.”
Reports earlier suggested that Babar Azam could soon be phased out of the captaincy. However, with 2023 being an ODI World Cup year, it remains to be seen how the PCB handles things.
Should Babar Azam remain captain across all three formats despite a poor set of results of late? Let us know what you think.
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