Shaheen Afridi's T20I captaincy under threat as Babar Azam set to return to leadership duties

Under Shaheen, Pakistan lost the five-match series against New Zealand by a 4-1 margin.

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Shaheen Shah Afridi and Babar Azam
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images)

Shaheen Shah Afridi's brief tenure as Pakistan's T20I skipper is set to conclude, as Babar Azam is extended the white-ball captaincy reins once again. Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Mohsin Naqvi, convened with Babar to present the proposal, which the latter is yet to respond to, though.

Following Pakistan's poor ODI World Cup 2023 campaign under Babar's leadership where they failed to qualify for the semi-finals, finishing fifth, a decision was made by the top brass to strip Babar off captaincy, a verdict which didn't go down well with him. However, he has asked the PCB to be made captain for all the three formats for him to consider making a comeback, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

Shan Masood, the current Test skipper, has had a subpar start to his captaincy stint, losing 3-0 to Australia down under.

Also Read: Nic Pothas urges for patience towards 'very good' young Bangladesh batters

Afridi's fate became apparent when Naqvi declined to support him during a press conference in Lahore on Sunday, stating that a definitive decision would be reached after Pakistan's military training camp concluded. It is understood that Afridi's captaincy snub comes amid an unimpressed stint during the New Zealand T20Is, followed by a disappointing campaign for Lahore Qalandars in the recently-concluded Pakistan Super League.

Although Babar's request to be appointed Test captain is not considered a deal-breaker, it does exert substantial pressure on Masood's role as captain in red-ball. Much like Afridi, the southpaw has led his nation in only one series. However, the group under Masood gave Australia a run for their money, courtesy of some notable individual performances in addition with an attacking brand of captaincy. The visiting side up a good fight in two of the three Tests despite a weakened bowling attack considering the number of injuries inflicted.

Also Read: Netherlands to feature in Tri-series with Ireland, Scotland as part of T20 World Cup preparations

PCB still hunting for head coach

Given the current state of affairs, Pakistan have engaged in negotiations with multiple candidates for the position of head coach, but haven't reached on anything concrete yet. Shane Watson, Mike Hesson, and Adam Voges are among those who ultimately declined the offers, while initial discussions with Luke Ronchi have also fizzled out. The board is currently engaged in discussions with Jason Gillespie and Gary Kirsten, but there is no indication of any sort of progress so far.

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