Shaheen Afridi to lead Pakistan in T20Is, Shan Masood appointed test captain

Shaheen Afridi with Babar Azam.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has designated Shaheen Shah Afridi as the new captain for white-ball cricket, while Shan Masood will lead the team in Test matches. This decision by the PCB follows Babar Azam’s resignation as the captain across all three formats.

Shan Masood, aged 34, has participated in 30 Tests for Pakistan, amassing 1597 runs at an average of 28.52, with a highest score of 156. On the other hand, Afridi has demonstrated his prowess by claiming 104 and 64 wickets in the 53 ODIs and 52 T20s he has played so far.

Afridi’s captaincy achievements include leading Lahore Qalandars to victory in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in both the 2022 and 2023 editions. Shan, appointed captain until the conclusion of the ICC World Test Championship 2023, will face his initial challenge in the three-match Test series against Australia commencing on December 14. Meanwhile, Shaheen will assume the captaincy for the first time in the five-match T20I series against New Zealand scheduled from January 12 to 21.

Earlier, Babar Azam, who was serving as the captain of the national team, officially declared his decision to step down from the captaincy role in all cricket formats.

He made the announcement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), shortly after he met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Interim Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf in Lahore.

According to the PCB, Babar was asked to continue as Test captain after being relieved of the captaincy in white-ball cricket.

In his statement, Babar said, “I vividly remember the moment when I received the call from PCB to lead Pakistan in 2019. Over the past four years, I’ve experienced many highs and lows on and off the field but I wholeheartedly and passionately aimed to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricket world.”

He said that reaching the number one spot in white-ball cricket was the result of the “collective efforts of players, coaches, and management but I’d like to express my gratitude to passionate Pakistan cricket fans for their unwavering support during this journey”.

“Today, I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats. It’s a difficult decision but I feel it is a right time for this call. I will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats. I am here to support the new captain and the team with my experience and dedication,” he said.

“I want to express my sincere thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board for entrusting me with this significant responsibility,” Babar concluded.

Babar Azam initially assumed the role of T20 captain in 2019, later taking charge of the Test and ODI teams in 2020. Although Babar did not specify the reason for his decision to resign, it coincides with the team’s disappointing performance in the World Cup.

The Green Shirts faced defeat in five out of nine games, including a significant loss to India by seven wickets in Ahmedabad, witnessed by over 100,000 fans. Notably, Pakistan experienced its first-ever loss to Afghanistan during this period.

Additionally, the PCB has altered the coaching staff’s portfolio, appointing former Test captain Mohammad Hafeez as the team director.

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