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New Pakistan Under-19 head coach Mohammad Yousuf has defended Babar Azam, saying he wasn’t appointed captain since he was related to the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
His comments come after Azam stepped down as captain in all three formats following Pakistan’s elimination from the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Top order batsman Shan Masood replaced the 29-year-old as Test captain, while Afridi took over as T20I skipper.
Yousuf noted that Azam was given the job since he had the leadership qualities necessary to help the men in green be successful.
Calling Azam a “genuine skipper”, Yousuf feels that he should have continued leading the team “for a long time.”
“Any good player should be allowed to continue as a captain for a long time. He [was] the captain because he has the ability. He did not become the captain because he is related to the PCB chairman. He [was] a genuine skipper,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
In the World Cup, Azam scored 320 runs in nine matches, which included four fifties, at an average of 40.
Pakistan won their first two games against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka before falling to India, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa.
The men in green bounced back to beat Bangladesh and New Zealand, but it was not enough to earn them a spot in the semi-finals.
Pakistan’s campaign concluded in dismal fashion as they lost to England by 93 runs.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Hasan Ali