اردو

Babar Azam frontrunner for Pakistan Test captaincy

Prolific batsman is likely to replace Azhar Ali for the upcoming tour of New Zealand

PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Prolific Pakistan batsman Babar Azam has emerged as the frontrunner for national side’s Test captaincy, replacing current skipper Azhar Ali.

According to sources, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has already met Azam, few days back, to discuss the possibility of leading the side in the longest format of the game. Mani has assured Azam, who is currently leading the Men in Green in limited-overs formats, that he will have “full authority as captain of the Test team”.

It must be noted that Ali replaced wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed as the skipper in October last year but his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, regarding changes in Pakistan’s domestic structure, could be one of the reasons why the PCB is keen on removing him from the role. Azhar had met PM Imran along with head coach Misbhaul Haq and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, without informing the PCB, which did not go down well with the board’s top brass.

People close to Ali’s camp are also of the opinion that it doesn’t make sense to remove him as captain after such a short span of time. They firmly believe that the only possible reason behind this is his meeting with PM Imran.

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Some media reports claimed, on Thursday, that wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s was the top contender for the Test captaincy which came as a surprise even for Babar Azam, the source added. Although, later, the PCB secretly ensured that Azam’s name was also in the mix.  

When PCB’s Media Director Samiul Hasan Burney was approached about Mani’s meeting with Azam, he said: “I don’t know anything about such a meeting or the decision to name Babar as Test captain.”