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File photo of Babar Azam.© AFP

The captaincy of Babar Azam has come under severe scrutiny since Pakistan’s eight-wicket loss to Afghanistan in Cricket World Cup 2023. With it, the Babar-led side suffered its third consecutive defeat in the ongoing tournament. It was a good start for Pakistan in the tournament with two wins in as many games but Rohit Sharma-led Indian team broke the Asian neighbour’s winning run before the side also suffered defeats at the hands of Australia and Afghanistan. Babar has been at the receiving end of all the backlash.

Amid the ongoing criticism of Babar’s captaincy, former New Zealand pacer Shane Bond picked Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards ahead of Babar when he was asked to pick the ‘ODI World Cup captain’ between the two. Bond revealed his choice during an interaction with ESPNcricinfo.

Pakistan are in a must-win situation against a marauding South Africa in Chennai on Friday and a loss will virtually end their hopes of progressing to the semifinals, as they have suffered three consecutive defeats in five matches so far.

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday hinted that skipper Babar’s captaincy could be on the line if the team’s campaign in the ongoing World Cup fails.

“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,” said PCB in a statement.

“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.”

Pakistan have four points from five matches, having suffered consecutive defeats against arch-rivals India, Australia and Afghanistan.

(With PTI Inputs)

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