by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Pakistan’s Cricket World Cup campaign came to an end with a 93-run loss to England, further fueling criticism and speculation about the future of captain Babar Azam. The defeat, which marked the team’s failure to reach the semi-finals for a second consecutive tournament, has led to intense scrutiny and calls for changes.
Former Pakistan captain and ex-chairman of the country’s cricket board, Ramiz Raja, described Azam as “depressed” in response to the backlash at home. Azam’s team suffered notable defeats, including a seven-wicket loss to India in Ahmedabad, where he faced accusations of lacking aggression in field settings. The captain’s alleged favoritism in player selection has also been a point of contention in the Pakistani media.
Raja believes that Azam might be the first casualty in the aftermath of the World Cup exit, citing immense pressure on the captain. He criticized the team’s approach, stating, “The problem with this team is it has the potential to play modern-day cricket but they have been a bit shy and timid with their approach.”
Moreover, Raja directed criticism at the entire Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), blaming systemic issues for the team’s performance. He questioned the PCB’s tendency to change captains and coaching staff without addressing fundamental problems within the cricketing system.
Former cricketers Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq echoed similar sentiments, arguing that blaming the captain alone was unfair. They attributed the team’s struggles to systemic faults and expressed disappointment with the overall lack of performance from various resources.
Akram emphasized, “The captaincy pressure has had an effect on Babar,” acknowledging that captaincy errors occurred but insisting that the entire system needed examination. Misbah added, “Everybody has to take the blame – the team management, selection committee, and Babar – since these resources were backed by them.”
Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar also voiced disappointment with the team’s performance. Malik criticized the captain for lacking street-smartness, while Akhtar highlighted the team’s overall lack of intent and the need for significant improvements.
The consensus among former cricketers is that addressing systemic issues is crucial for Pakistan’s cricketing future, and blaming the captain alone is insufficient.