Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has called on the Pakistan team to cover for captain Babar Azam in order to ensure he has all the support he needs when he makes mistakes.
Azam’s captaincy has been thrust into the spotlight as of late, especially after the men in green’s disastrous home season, where they played England and New Zealand.
Pakistan were whitewashed 3-0 in their Test series against England, while both Tests against New Zealand concluded as a draw. As for the three-match ODI series that followed, Pakistan lost 2-1.
With rumours flying around of Azam potentially being stripped of the captaincy in one or more formats, Hafeez said the 28-year-old needs to be backed by all those around him, including the team management and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials.
“If he makes a few mistakes in captaincy, his teammates should help him cover up. The supporting staff and the higher management of the Pakistan Cricket Board are also there and this is the kind of support any captain needs,” the 42-year-old was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Hafeez represented the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) after being brought in to replace Ahsan Ali, but the team failed to make it to the playoffs.
Azam, meanwhile, is captaining the Peshawar Zalmi in the tournament. His side managed to qualify for the playoffs and will face Islamabad United in the Eliminator on Thursday.
Pakistan will play a three T20Is against Afghanistan after the PSL, but Azam and a number of other big-name players have been rested for the series, which will be played from March 25 to 28.
Peshawar Zalmi Squad for PSL 8: Babar Azam, Sherfane Rutherford, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Haris, Aamir Jamal, Salman Irshad, Tom-Kohler Cadmore, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Rovman Powell, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Danish Aziz, Arshad Iqbal, Saim Ayub, Usman Qadir, Suifyan Muqeem, Haseebullah, Jimmy Neesham, Khurram Shahzad, Haris Sohail, Richard Gleeson (partial replacement for Rovman Powell), Peter Hatzoglou (partial replacement for Mujeeb ur Rahman), Shakib Al Hasan (available for playoffs), Azmatullah Omarzai
Pakistan squad for T20I series against Afghanistan: Shadab Khan (capt), Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Zaman Khan
Reserve players: Abrar Ahmed, Haseebullah, Usama Mir