Babar Azam
Image Source: Twitter @PCB

Three Players Likely To Replace Babar Azam As Pakistan’s Next White-Ball Captain. Pakistan endured a dismal run in the 2024 T20 World Cup, exiting in the group stages after losses to the USA and India. This early exit is a first for Pakistan in T20 World Cup history. Babar Azam’s captaincy was questioned throughout the tournament, especially since he had been reappointed as the white-ball captain just a few months after stepping down following the disappointing 2023 ODI World Cup.

A report by PTI shows that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering the replacement of Babar Azam with another white-ball captain. While some advise reinstating Shaheen Afridi as a captain, almost everyone suggests Mohammad Rizwan or the team’s red-ball captain Shan Masood would be the right replacement if Babar is to be replaced.

It is clear that because of Pakistan’s poor performance in the T20 World Cup 2024, the newly occupied PCB chair, Mohsin Naqvi, felt the need to bring about major changes. However, Naqvi, reportedly advised by his solicitor, is now more hesitant to make changes to the squad due to the confrontation he had with senior players.

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Therefore, the whole existing squad is expected to stay in all three formats of the game who are the same irrespective of Head Coach Gary Kirsten’s reports outlining disillusionment in the team. Should Babar Azam be fired or decide for the second time that he’ll never lead the team then it will certainly be interesting to see who takes his place. Here’s a review of three probable options to Babar Azam as Pakistan’s T20I captain.

Three Potential Replacements For Babar Azam As Pakistan’s T20I Captain

Shaheen Shah Afridi

Shaheen Shah Afridi took over as Pakistan’s T20I captain after Babar Azam stepped down in November last year. Shaheen faced a crushing 1-4 defeat against New Zealand in his first series as captain in January 2024. The PCB removed him from the captaincy in March due to changes in the board’s leadership.

Despite this setback, the left-arm pacer has earned significant acclaim as captain in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), leading the Lahore Qalandars to back-to-back titles in 2022 and 2023. There is a strong possibility that they will ask him to lead the T20I side once again.

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Mohammad Rizwan

Mohammad Rizwan is also a strong contender to be Pakistan’s T20I captain. He has become the second-highest run scorer for Pakistan in T20Is and gained valuable experience as Babar Azam’s deputy in the T20 World Cup 2024. Besides, as a wicketkeeper-batsman, he led the Multan Sultans to three PSL finals in a row from 2022 to 2024, although they haven’t won a title yet.

Shadab Khan

Shadab Khan, an all-rounder, has previously supported Babar Azam in white-ball cricket and led Islamabad United to win the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in 2024. His strong batting in the middle order during PSL 2024 makes him a good option. Shadab is a potential candidate for the top role and could be seen as an alternative to Babar by the PCB.