Soon after the resignation, the PCB issued a statement saying that Babar was offered the option to continue as Test captain, while the decision to remove him as white-ball captain was presented to him as a fait accompli. “After consulting with his family, Babar decided to resign and PCB supports his decision. PCB respects his decision and continues to support him as a player.”
“Babar Azam is truly a world-class player and we want him to continue to flourish as a player,” Ashraf said. “He is one of the best batsmen Pakistan has ever produced. He is our asset and we will continue to support him.”
Masood’s captaincy marks a remarkable rise for a man who made his Test debut more than a decade ago but never managed to carve out a place in the team. He was repeatedly dropped after two or three Test matches in which impressive scores were followed by prolonged, barren runs, and spent a long period out of the team. A return to the team late last year for Tests against England and New Zealand produced indifferent scores, although the series against Sri Lanka in July culminated in his maiden half-century in 17 innings.
Their first assignment is the one that Pakistan has historically found most difficult: an away series in Australia. Pakistan has lost its last 14 consecutive Test bounces, a streak dating back to 1999, including five series shutouts.
Afridi, 23, was widely considered to succeed Babar Azam in the shortest format, and will see his first assignment come immediately after that three-Test series against Australia ends. Pakistan travels to New Zealand after the Tests in Australia to play five T20Is. This is the first series leading up to next year’s T20 World Cup, which will take place in the West Indies and the United States in June 2024.
Afridi was named captain of his Pakistan Super League franchise, Lahore Qalandars, and enjoyed immediate success. The Qalandars have won both PSL trophies under him, becoming the first team to successfully defend the trophy. The PCB said he would be named an ODI captain “in due course”.
Mohammad Hafeez appointed team manager
Head coach Grant Bradburn will also not travel with the Pakistan team to Australia and New Zealand, with a replacement expected to be announced shortly. Younis Khan is considered to take over. It is understood that neither Arthur nor Bradburn have been relieved of their duties, an action this temporary management committee likely lacks the authority to take. It has not yet been announced what roles Arthur and Bradburn will be given, but it is not understood that the pair’s resignations are imminent.