Babar Azam, who was recently appointed Pakistan captain in all three formats, wanted to be elevated to the coveted role and will hold the post for a long time, confirmed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan.
In an interview on YouTube channel 'Cricket Baaz', Khan attributed the move to Babar Azam being Pakistan’s best batsman who has a long and prosperous career ahead of him.
“I can assure you that until [PCB chairman] Ehsan Mani and myself are in the Pakistan board, Babar will remain captain. We have appointed him captain because he is our best batsman, young and mentally very strong and he himself wanted to take on the responsibility for all three formats,” the PCB CEO said.
While Babar Azam was first handed the T20I captaincy on the England tour in July-August this year, he led the ODI side in the 2-1 series victory at home to Zimbabwe last month. Wasim Khan confirmed that Babar himself wanted the Test captaincy and was given the same after having a discussion with Mani.
“Babar himself showed keen interest in becoming Test captain and assures us he could handle the pressures and it would not affect his batting,” Khan added.
Babar Azam recently led the Karachi Kings to victory in the Pakistan Super League 2020. Apart from scoring a match-winning 63* off 49 balls in the final, the Pakistan skipper bagged the Man of the Series award after finishing the season with 473 runs at an average of 59.12 in 11 outings.
‘Now was the time to start grooming Babar Azam and make him Test captain as well,’ says Wasim Khan
Pakistan cricket has been marred by constant chopping and changing, be it with their captain or their playing XI. The PCB CEO, though, stated that Babar Azam is here to stay.
“We felt he [Babar Azam] is our best choice because he has a good future, he is our best batsman and getting better every day and we have found him to be mentally very strong when we first tested him as captain in the white ball formats. That’s why when the time came we felt that Azhar Ali had done his best but now was the time to start grooming Babar and make him Test captain as well,” Khan reasoned.
After drawing the T20I series 1-1 against England, Babar Azam led Pakistan to victory in ODI series (2-1) and T20I series (3-0) at home against Zimbabwe. A tougher challenge now awaits for the 26-year-old, as Pakistan are scheduled to play 3 T20Is and 2 Tests away at New Zealand later this month.