PCB defends ‘controversial press release’ issued during ICC World Cup 2023

The PCB had released a rather unusual press release amid growing criticism of Pakistan's performances in the World Cup after Babar Azam's men faced a shock defeat at the hands of Afghanistan

PCB defends ‘controversial press release’ issued during ICC World Cup 2023 PHOTO: AFP

Aalia Rasheed, the Director of Media at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Wednesday in an interview addressed the press release issued during the ICC World Cup 2023.

The release came amid criticism of Pakistan's performance, especially after a surprising loss to Afghanistan. 

The board, in its press release, urged the fans to support the side but also had a rather worrying message for Babar, with regards to his future captaincy prospects should Pakistan fail to quality for the knock-out stages.

"Addressing the media scrutiny directed at captain Babar Azam and the team management, the board's stance, echoing that of former cricketers, is that successes and defeats are part of the game. Captain Babar Azam and Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq were given freedom and support in forming the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023," the release read.

"Looking ahead, the board will make decisions in the best interest of Pakistan cricket based on the team's performances in the World Cup. At present, the PCB encourages fans, former players and stakeholders to rally behind the team as they strive to make a triumphant comeback in the mega-event."

Aalia clarified that the PCB never blamed Babar for the losses and highlighted that the press release accurately reflected that Babar and Inzamam were responsible for the squad selection. 

"One thing I want to make clear is that the PCB never, for once, criticised Babar Azam or the team during the World Cup nor did they try to hold Azam responsible for the losses," Aalia said while talking to a local media outlet.

"Look, Babar is a respectable player there is no doubt about that and he has an independent nature, and I believe that every captain should possess that quality but it doesn't mean that you ignore the recommendation of other selection committee members.

"In that press release, it was stated that the team was chosen by Inzamam and Babar and that was the truth. He [Babar] wasn't ready to compromise on even a single player and the board supported him. It is a fact whether one accepts it or not," Aalia added.

As Pakistan failed to qualify for semi-finals of the World Cup, Babar decided to step from captaincy in all formats, which prompted the board to unveil new leaders for the Test and T20I formats. Shan Masood was named as the captain for Tests, while pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi was named the skipper for T20Is.