Confirms the captain met Ramiz Raja on Tuesday
Captain Babar Azam is ‘fully behind’ the national team squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the Pakistan Cricket Board CEO Wasim Khan claimed on Wednesday.
Wasim was responding to reports that Babar was unhappy with the some of the selections in the Pakistan squad.
SAMAA sources revealed Tuesday that incoming PCB chairperson Ramiz Raja had replaced four players of the skipper’s choice.
“It has come to our notice that factually incorrect reports are circulating about the Pakistan national squad environment,” a PCB press release quoted Wasim as saying. “The squad for the upcoming international assignments has been announced and our captain Babar Azam is fully behind the direction that is being taken.”
Ramiz had replaced Babar’s picks — openers Sharjeel Khan and Fakhar Zaman, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and leg-spinner Usman Qadir — with middle-order batsmen Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Sohaib Maqsood and Khushdil Shah, sources said.
This happened during Ramiz’s meeting with Babar at the National High Performance Centre in Lahore.
“On Tuesday afternoon, some of the players had a healthy and positive meeting with former Pakistan captain and member of the PCB Board of Governors, Mr Ramiz Raja, in which there was a consensus on the brand of cricket that needs to be played in the upcoming series and beyond,” Wasim said.
He believed the squad needs to be collectively backed ‘firmly’ to ensure it had the “stability, backing and focus they need prior to going into the ICC T20 World Cup next month.”
The Pakistan squad for the T20 World Cup and the upcoming Twenty-20 International series against New Zealand and England was announced on Monday.
Hours after the announcement, Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down from their positions.
Their decisions were also followed by Waqar’s meeting with Ramiz, according to sources. The latter told him about his plans to remove him and Misbah.
The former fast-bowler consulted with Misbah after that, and both decided to resign to avoid an eventual sacking, sources said.
Ramiz is imminent to be elected as the PCB chairperson in its polls on September 13. He was nominated as a member of the Board of Governors by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is the patron of the PCB.
Historically, the patron’s nomination has always ended up becoming the PCB chief.
The T20 World Cup is set to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
Before that, Pakistan play New Zealand in a three-match One-day International series and five-match T20I series from September 17 to October 3 in Lahore.
They host England for two T20Is in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14.