PCB has full confidence in me, no threat to captaincy even if Pakistan lose in New Zealand, says Babar Azam


Earlier this month, on November 10, after hosts Pakistan defeated Zimbabwe in the ODI and T20I series, under the leadership of limited-overs captain Babar Azam, the World No. 5 was named the Test captain as well. The prolific star batsman of Pakistan cricket, now the captain across all formats, replaced Azhar Ali as the Test skipper.

Babar Azam’s rise as a batsman and a leader has led to many accolades and the 26-year-old will now lead the Pakistan side when they tour New Zealand later this year. It will be a huge challenge for Pakistan since thei overseas defeat in Australia last year and England this year.

However, Babar has shared that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has assured that the star batsman’s captaincy is under no threat and independent of the outcome of the New Zealand tour.

“We are continuously playing cricket. We have gained a lot of confidence from our victories and that is why we are hopeful for a good showing against New Zealand. You are always under pressure in international cricket. When I was announced as the white-ball captain, there was pressure. Challenges come your way and you accept them,” said Babar Azam.

“I have learned a lot through white-ball cricket and players such as Sarfaraz Ahmed and Azhar Ali. The team relies on me and I try to take responsibility when our side is batting. The real joy of cricket is playing under pressure. I enjoy playing cricket. I am not threatened that I will be removed if we lose against New Zealand. I have been given complete confidence from management and a free hand in decision-making,” he added.

The newly-appointed Test captain of Pakistan has assured that there are no groupings and differences in the team and that they’re all a bunch of closely knit cricketers. Babar has also thanked former head coach Mickey Arthur for his backing.

“There are no problems with regards to grouping in the team. Everyone supports and respects each other. The team is filled with youngsters and there are no problems with grouping whatsoever. Everyone sits together and supports their teammates. There are no groups; the entire team is one group,” he said.

“All players can’t perform in every match. The ones who are not performing need to be backed. When I was not performing well in Test cricket, Mickey Arthur backed and supported me a lot. This greatly benefitted me. I have continued to improve from thereon. I will try for big innings in New Zealand as well. We will all try our best and the result is in God’s hands,” he added.

Pakistan’s 35-member squad for New Zealand tour: Babar Azam (c), Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Zeeshan Malik, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Haris Sohail, Hussain Talat, Imran Butt, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Rohail Nazir, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz

The 3-match T20I series between Pakistan and New Zealand begins on December 18 and will be followed by two Test matches, from January 7.



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