October 16, 2023

Shan best bet to replace Babar: Anwar-ul-Haq


Pakistan News & Features Services

Anwar-ul-Haq, a former cricketer turned commentator, seems absolutely clear in his mind that Babar Azam, following inconsistency and incompetence, should be removed from national captaincy across formats and the baton should be passed on to none other Shan Masood, the prolific opening batsman.

“I had been advocating for the removal of Babar long before this World Cup had started. It would be in the interest of the team if he is relieved of the leadership role and be allowed to focus on his batting which has obviously slumped in the recent past. He has been unable to do justice to his talents as a batter, having caused immeasurable harm to the Pakistan side,” Anwar, respected for his candid thoughts, remarked in a conversation with PNFS soon after Pakistan suffered an embarrassing loss against hosts India at Ahmedabad on October 14. 

“Irrespective of the fate of upcoming matches, Babar, unquestionably a world-class batsman, should be allowed to do his primary job of hitting centuries instead of dragging him in a role which doesn’t belong to him. The administrators of the game have already done great disservice to the country by having him lead the national team despite his unsuitability for the job,” the former cricketer reflected. 

“I think it’s about time to take decisions in the national interest instead of personal whims. Babar’s tactics as a captain have often been under the scanner and his insistence on shielding players of his own camp has led to chaos to numerous occasions,” Anwar felt. 

When questioned about the possible replacement for Babar, he didn’t mince words in asserting that Shan, the tall left-handed opening batsman, looked the best candidate to take over the captaincy in all three formats on the basis of his talents and record.

“In the limited opportunities having come his way over the years, Shan has proved himself to be a capable leader who is blessed with the desired qualities to take fight to the opposition. We need a captain like him who could lead from the front,” the former opening batsman emphasized. 

“I firmly believe that Shan has been victimized by people with vested interests. On the basis of his strengths, he certainly deserved to play more often for the national but he was discarded once too often after a brief dip in performance which was certainly unfair to him in particular and to the country in general,” Anwar added.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had installed him as vice-captain for the ODI home series against New Zealand but the evil forces within the team conspired to keep him out of the playing eleven. The conspirators prevailed and Shan was not allowed the space to perform,” he recalled. 

Anwar, who is credited to have mentored quite a few illustrious cricketers like the great Younis Khan, urged the PCB to appoint Shan as the captain of Pakistan team in the larger national interest as he possessed the rare potential to extract the best out of his teammates, both seniors and juniors.

"We have had enough for Babar as a captain. His record is far from satisfactory and he has to be sidelined without further delay," Anwar concluded.

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