Several players expressed their admiration for the 29-year-old’s leadership contributions, taking to social media platforms to commend his efforts. However, a portion of the team chose to remain silent on the matter.
On Wednesday, Babar Azam made public his decision to resign from leadership roles in all formats, a move that followed Pakistan’s failure to advance to the semifinals in the ongoing World Cup.
The reactions from teammates highlight a spectrum of sentiments within the squad regarding Babar’s tenure as captain.
Pacer Naseem Shah, who had missed the marquee event with an injury, took to X to extend his support for Babar.
“Four years of pure joy, it has been an absolute honour to have played and made my white ball debut under your leadership.
“You have always led from the front and made us believe in ‘One Team, One Dream.’
“Inshah Allah, we will watch you break many batting records for our beloved Pakistan,” wrote Shah.
Wicketkeeper batter and often a deputy to Babar, Muhammad Rizwan too penned an emotional tribute.
“You are definitely one of the greatest batsmen Pakistan has ever seen.
“Your honesty, love, integrity, thoughts, and efforts for Pakistan as the captain are the things to look up to. May you continue to shine for Pakistan,” wrote Rizwan.
Middle-order batter Iftikhar Ahmad too was effusive in praise for Babar’s captaincy.
“It’s been an honour to have represented Pakistan under your captaincy. I’ve been part of many highs and many lows during that period, but your resilience and determination always came on top.
“Looking forward to seeing you score heavily for Pakistan and that too from the best seat of non-striking end,” said Iftikhar.
Speculations about a division within the Pakistan squad emerged following their modest performance in the World Cup. There were indications that some players were dissatisfied with Babar’s captaincy approach.
This dissatisfaction perhaps manifested in the noticeable silence of certain teammates, including Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Hasan Ali. Notably, these players had received strong backing from Babar over the past three years.
Conversely, several former players, including Muhammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Azhar Ali, and Azhar Mahmood, expressed appreciation for Babar’s leadership during his four-year tenure.
Contrastingly, two excluded Pakistan players and Babar’s teammates at Karachi Kings, Imad Wasim and Muhammad Amir, were unequivocal in their stance. They openly asserted that, in their opinion, the right-hander did not merit a place in the national T20 side. This adds another layer to the complex dynamics within the team and highlights divergent perspectives on Babar Azam’s role in the squad.
“It is a tough call but Babar doesn’t deserve a place in T20s,” said Wasim.
Amir, echoed the sentiment, stating bluntly, “Babar doesn’t deserve to be in T20.”
After Babar’s decision to move away, the Pakistan Cricket Board had appointed Shan Masood as Test captain and Shaheen Shah Afridi as T20I skipper.
(With PTI inputs)