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Why is Captain Babar Azam Upset Ahead of African Safari Tour?

What does the tiff between the young skipper and the selectors over the squad named for African Safari mean?

With the two-nation African Safari tour just around the corner, skipper Babar Azam is not happy about the squad named by the selectors – and he is not taking it lying down either.

The Pakistan captain for all three formats of cricket says he was allowed no opportunity to have a say while choosing the players.

According to an extremely reliable source, Babar has said that he is disappointed with the selection that has come out based on four-five PSL matches. With the T20 World Cup approaching, the captain believes that players should be tried consistently rather than dropping them from the squad after two or three matches.

He says that there should be a combo of juniors and seniors in the team rather than an entire inexperienced squad. Babar Azam is of the view that there should be proper opportunities for the players and their performance should be judged before eliminating them without a single trial game.

He added that PCB should learn from the past mistakes that cost selecting Naseem Shah in the same scenario. A player is initially productive does not mean he will be showing consistency forever.

Azam is against the six selections made and wanted Haris Sohailto to be in the ODI squad. Besides, he wanted for spinner Yasir Shah in the test squad rather than a few of the players who have been involved.

The relationship between Babar and PCB does appear to be wobbly as he demands a justified captaincy role rather than having no opinion or right to choose players of his will. He believes that he should be given authority in such critical decision-making.

Babar Azam also said that selecting players from T20 leagues for Test teams will not do any good to the players as it will ruin their careers. Babar Azam gave an example of Naseem Shah as he did not have much first-class experience but he was capped for the test team. Shahnawaz Dhani does not have first-class experience. This is not to discount his talent, but the experience is essential for international cricket.

Azam questions Imad Wasim’s exclusion from the squad as well.

An allrounder who can be in the team for power hitting, Wasim can also be a useful bowler throughout the innings. Considering Pakistan has to play the T20 World Cup, such experiments should not be done at this time, thinks Azam. They should prepare the final team for the world cup.

This is not the first time the PCB officials have disdained a captain like this at a crucial juncture. Sarfraz Ahmed who captained the side from 2017 to 2019 met similar treatment.

With him at the helm, Pakistan became the number one team in T20 International cricket. One of his major wins was downing arch-rivals India in the finale of the 2017 Champions Trophy. Later Sarfraz Ahmed was sacked by the PCB as captain although he is still part of the squad as a substitute wicketkeeper.

Is something going on between captain Babar Azam and PCB? Is this the officials’ way of paving the way for his ouster or are they “just putting him in his place”? The rumor mill is in overdrive but let’s keep our fingers crossed as Babar Azam and PCB are on the same page.

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