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Pakistan legend Younis Khan names a surprising pick to replace Babar Azam as T20I captain

Pakistan legend Younis Khan names a surprising pick to replace Babar Azam as T20I captain

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Following Pakistan‘s early exit from the T20 World Cup 2024, former Pakistan batter Younis Khan has made a surprising suggestion for the team’s future captain. Pakistan’s performance in the tournament was disappointing, with gut-wrenching defeats to the USA and India in the group stage, followed by victories against Canada and Ireland. However, these wins came too late, and Pakistan failed to advance to the Super Eight stage, prompting questions about the leadership.

Babar Azam’s leadership under scrutiny

Babar Azam, who had previously led Pakistan to the semi-finals and finals of the T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022, faced criticism for the team’s lack of cohesion and creativity during the current edition. His leadership has come under intense scrutiny, with calls from the cricket fraternity for him to be replaced as captain. This isn’t the first time Babar has faced such pressure; he stepped down from the captaincy in all formats after Pakistan’s failure in the ODI World Cup 2023, only to return to the role earlier this year.

Contenders for captaincy of Pakistan in T20I

Several names have been floated as potential replacements for Babar. Shaheen Afridi, who briefly held the T20I captaincy last year, is a favorite. Nevertheless, he was removed after a 4-1 series defeat to New Zealand. Mohammad Rizwan is another strong contender, having led the Multan Sultans to one Pakistan Super League (PSL) title and three finals.

Also READ: Sanjay Manjrekar, Harbhajan Singh explain why the USA qualified ahead of Pakistan for Super 8 | T20 World Cup 2024

Younis Khan’s surprise choice

In a surprising twist, Younis Khan, Pakistan’s 2009 T20 World Cup-winning captain, has suggested Fakhar Zaman as the ideal replacement for Babar. Speaking on the Game show on PTV Sports, Younis praised Fakhar for his selflessness and adaptability, particularly highlighting his role in turning around Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 campaign. Younis noted Fakhar’s willingness to sacrifice his preferred opening spot to bat at number four for the team’s benefit.

“Why can’t Fakhar Zaman be the captain of the side isn’t he a performer? Didn’t he do well in the last 50-over World Cup? Who is that one player who gave us hope? Zaman started the 2023 World Cup in India poorly however, in the second half turned his form around which coincided with Pakistan’s success. His blistering starts at the top kept Pakistan in contention however, it was too little too late for them to go further in the tournament,” Younis said.

“Who is that one player in the side who is leaving his opening slot and batting down at four or five or six? Who is sacrificing his place? Fakhar Zaman! Why won’t you make him the captain?,” Younis concluded.

Replacements’ credentials

Despite never having captained Pakistan in his seven-year international career, Fakhar’s leadership qualities and team-first attitude have impressed Younis. Nonetheless, Fakhar endured a dismal campaign in 2024 edition, scoring only 33 runs at an average of 8.25 and a strike rate of 110 in four games.

Also READ: Andy Flower names Pakistan’s next captain following early exit from T20 World Cup 2024

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