Hafeez and Misbah clash with Skipper Babar Azam
The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee, Zaka Ashraf, recently disclosed an intriguing aspect of the decision-making process concerning the composition of the Pakistan cricket team for the upcoming World Cup. In an in-depth evaluation of Pakistan's performance in the 2023 Asia Cup, held at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, it was revealed that Babar Azam, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team, ardently advocated for the inclusion of Shadab Khan in the World Cup squad, despite the all-rounder's lackluster performance in the Asia Cup.
According to Zaka Ashraf, Babar Azam expressed a strong desire to retain Shadab Khan as the vice-captain for the forthcoming World Cup. He emphasized that it was Babar's personal wish that Shadab continued to serve in this crucial role during the tournament. However, a condition was attached to Shadab's inclusion – if he failed to deliver, he would be dropped from the squad, highlighting the captain's commitment to performance-based selection.
The revelation emerged as part of the comprehensive review of Pakistan's performance in the 2023 Asia Cup, a pivotal meeting attended by PCB Cricket Technical Committee members, Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez. During this evaluation, the shortcomings exhibited by the players were meticulously scrutinized, with a focus on improving the team's overall performance.
Interestingly, while Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez were strong proponents of making substantial changes to the squad due to the team's subpar performance in the Asia Cup, Babar Azam, in conjunction with the chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, leaned towards maintaining continuity within the squad.
Zaka Ashraf highlighted this divergence in opinions, stating that "Both Misbah and Hafeez wanted big changes in the squad because of the team’s Asia Cup performance while our captain, Babar Azam, and the chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, didn’t want to change the squad." Ultimately, the decision to align with the preferences of Babar Azam and Inzamam-ul-Haq was made in the broader interest of the World Cup and the Pakistan cricket team, signaling a pivotal choice that could shape the team's performance in the upcoming tournament.