A strategic move


Nostradamean prognosis about cricket sensation Babar Azam has finally turned out to be true as he returns to Green Shirts captaincy in ODIs and T20s. The move is said to be a part of the “strategic move.” However, the skipper did not arrive to an applauding fanbase. The number of tweets criticising his overture suggests a slight change in the mood, as many do not buy the pizzazz. This continuing tradition of about-turns might have received a unanimous recommendation from the selection committee, but flashing news stories about former captain Shaheen Shah Afridi not being in the loop does little to add to his credibility.
For now, both have issued an amicable statement in each other’s favour, but would buzzwords like “strategic understanding” actually help the two-star players cooperate and perform as one team?
There’s no denying the talent of Mr Azam, whose instant shot to fame and solid batting technique has repeatedly earned him praise from fans and experts. But to play a fine game and to lead an entire squad, encouraging all players to put their best foot forward, require entirely different skill sets. While some welcomed the move, citing his batting prowess and leadership skills, many others have raised credible concerns about the PCB’s handling of the situation. The board’s rationale for reinstating Mr Azam centred around his proven capabilities as a player and the need for stability in leadership to steer the team in the right direction.
Since the Shaheens are busy preparing for the T20 WorldCup, Mr Azam needs to carve out a straight-shooter strategy that would ensure he steps out of the shadows of last year’s inconsequential World Cup. The board has already made clear that this time around, it would be calling all the shots but the pressure to deliver consistent results remains. Both as a player and a captain, he will be required to lead by example and inspire his teammates to elevate their game. The bickerings of the past, where Men in Green were said to be divided into several fan clubs, cannot continue, even if it means building bridges with players like Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir. All the best, Mr Azam. May your second stint be the charm Pakistani cricket desperately needs.