Babar Azam appointed as Pakistan's ODI captain
- Babar Azam has been confirmed as Pakistan's limited-overs leader for the 2020-21 season.
- Naseem Shah was named in central contracts list, while Mohd. Amir, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali were excluded.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced its men's central contracts list, which confirmed Babar Azam's appointment as captain in the ODI format. Azam was already the T20I skipper for Pakistan, and he will now lead his national team in both limited-overs formats.
In a statement released by the PCB, Azhar Ali retained his status as the Test captain for the 2020-21 season. Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmad were also inducted into the contracts list for the first time.
Mohammad Rizwan, Abid Ali, Shan Masood and Shaheen Afridi featured were awarded contract upgrades, while Haris Rauf, Haider Ali, and Mohammad Hasnain were included in the Emerging Players’ Category.
Chief selector and former captain of Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq, congratulated Babar Azam and Azhar Ali for their respective leadership posts. He also expressed his confidence in the two prolific scorers to help Pakistan prosper under their leadership in future tours.
“I want to congratulate Azhar Ali and Babar Azam for getting captaincy extensions. This is absolutely the right decision as they also require certainty and clarity on their future roles. I am sure they will now start looking to the future and start planning so that they can build sides that can perform at the expected levels."
Babar Azam in Category A, Naseem Shah gets central contract
The PCB Central Contract List for the 2020-21 season
Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah
Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Naseem Shah, Usman Shinwari
Emerging Players’ Category
Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain
According to Misbah ul-Haq, past performances of the players was a key criterion while awarding them contracts and promotions. He pointed out the good performances of the likes of Babar Azam and Naseem Shah, and stated that this helped them go up in the contract list.
However, the exclusion of the pace trio of Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, and Hasan Ali came as a huge surprise to many.
Pakistan are scheduled to play 20 T20Is, six ODIs and nine Test matches over the next 12 months. These fixtures also include the Asia Cup at home and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.
Speaking about the latest entrants on the contract list, Misbah-ul-Haq said:
“I am delighted for Naseem and Shaheen who have been well-rewarded for their outstanding performances. The two teenagers are the future of Pakistan cricket and I have no doubts that if they remain fit and stay focused, they will dominate world cricket for a long time. Their elevation is also a reward for bowling coach Waqar Younis, who has been working tirelessly on them, but there is still a long way to go for the duo and they have to perform consistently at big stages before they can put their cases of classifying them in the league of bowlers such as Waqar.