It has been less than a day since Travis Head made a scintillating century in the finals of the ODI World Cup as Australia won their sixth Men’s Cricket World Cup. Australia beat India in the finals by six wickets to win the multi-nation tournament at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. New Zealand and South Africa were the losing semi-finalists. Pakistan finished in fifth place, two points behind New Zealand. The performance of the Pakistan Cricket Team resulted in many changes in their cricket board. In the below piece, we will take a look at the number of changes brought to Pakistan cricket.
Babar Azam resigns from captaincy
Following a poor and underwhelming performance in the ODI World Cup 2023, Babar Azam gave up the captaincy. Babar not only resigned from captaincy in the ODI format but also resigned from T20I and Test captaincy.
Under Babar’s captaincy, Pakistan achieved number-one rankings in T20Is and ODIs. Other noteworthy performances from his time included Pakistan defeating India for the first time in a World Cup match. Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Pakistan were the runners-up in the Asia Cup 2022 and the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Babar’s tactics at the recently concluded ODI World Cup came under a lot of questions and criticism. As a batter too, Babar never hit the ground running as per his standard. The former Pakistani skipper failed to play a significant math-winning knock. He was also let down by his other teammates. Star pacer and the newly appointed T20I captain, Shaheen Shah Afridi too failed to make an impact with the new ball on numerous occasions.
Shaheen Afridi and Shan Masood were announced as the new captains
Shortly after Babar resigned from captaincy from all three formats, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced Shaheen Afridi and Shan Masood as the new T20I and Test captains. Pakistan does not have any ODIs scheduled for the foreseeable future so the PCB did not announce a captain for the 50-over format.
Shaheen, 23, was considered to be the successor to Babar Azam when it came to limited-overs captaincy. The left-arm pacer was announced as the captain of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, Lahore Qalandars. The Qalandars have enjoyed immense success under the leadership of Shaheen. The Qalandars have won both titles in 2022 and 2023 under Afridi’s leadership. By defending their title in 2023, the Qalandars became the first team to defend their title in PSL history. His first assignment as a captain will come post the test series in Australia with a five-match T20I series in New Zealand.
Masood, 34 years and 30 test matches old was given the leadership of the red-ball format. The left-handed batter’s career has had lots of ups and downs. He impressed on his debut but then followed it by a string of low scores. His career story has been pretty similar to the start he had. Going by Pakistan’s history, his first assignment in Australia won’t be easy. Pakistan has a 14-match losing streak down under including five consecutive whitewashes.
Inzamam-ul-Haq resigns from his role
Pakistan after winning their first two games against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka went on a four-match losing streak. Inzamam-ul-Haq was the first to crack after the four-match losing streak and resigned from his position as Chief Selector. Inzamam was faced with allegations of conflict of interest and the PCB set up a five-member committee to investigate those allegations.
In a statement released by PCB, Inzamam said, “I am stepping down from the post to offer the PCB the opportunity to conduct a transparent inquiry about the conflict of interest allegations raised in the media. If the committee finds me not guilty, I will resume my role as the chief selector.”
Wahab Riaz replaces Inzamam
Without announcing him guilty or innocent of the allegations, PCB replaced Inzamam as other job positions also saw a change of faces. Wahab Riaz was appointed as the chief selector. Riaz retired from international cricket in August this year.
Wahab Riaz opens up about his appointment as chief selector and outlines his priorities in this role 🎙️🏏
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) November 17, 2023
The former Pakistani pacer will begin his assignment ahead of the three-match test series in Australia. Wahab is yet to formally announce his retirement from franchise cricket but his PSL franchise in a tweet thanked the new chief selector for his services.
— Peshawar Zalmi (@PeshawarZalmi) November 17, 2023
Sohail Tanvir was also the head of the junior selection committee. The committee’s first task would be to select the Pakistan Under-19 squad for the Under-19 Asia Cup which will be followed by ICC Under-19 World Cup.
Mickey Arthur demoted Hafeez appointed
Mickey Arthur was the director of cricket and he too was one of the most criticised people in the PCB setup. After a poor showing in the ODI World Cup 2023, Arthur was removed from his position and his team of coaches were fired. Morne Morkel, the bowling coach had resigned on his own.
Mohammad Hafeez sans any prior experience as a director or a coach was appointed the director of cricket. The former Pakistani all-rounder will also serve as Pakistan’s head coach for the tours in Australia and New Zealand.
Along with Hafeez’s appointment as the Head Coach, there have been multiple rumours suggesting that Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal will be appointed as the fast bowling and spin bowling coach respectively.