Shortly after the resignation, the PCB issued a statement saying that Babar had been offered the option to continue as Test captain, while the decision to remove him from the white-ball captaincy position was presented to him as a fait accompli. “After consulting with his family, Babar has decided to step down and the PCB supports his decision. The PCB respects his decision and continues to support him as a player.”
“Babar Azam is a truly world-class player and we want him to continue to shine as a player,” Ashraf said. “He is one of the best players Pakistan has ever produced. He is our asset and we will continue to support him.”
Masoud’s captaincy represents a remarkable rise for a man who made his Test debut more than a decade ago but has never managed to nail down a place in the side. He was repeatedly dropped after two or three Test matches as impressive results were followed by extended barren innings, and he continued to spend a long period out of the side. A return to the team late last year for Tests against England and New Zealand produced indifferent results, although the series against Sri Lanka in July was capped by his maiden half-century in 17 innings.
His first assignment is one that Pakistan found tougher than anything else, an away series in Australia. Pakistan have lost their last 14 consecutive Tests on the bounce, a streak stretching back to 1999, including five series whitewashes.
Afridi, 23, was widely expected to succeed Babar Azam in the shortest format, and will see his first stint come immediately after the conclusion of the three-Test series against Australia. Pakistan travel to New Zealand after the Tests in Australia to play five T20Is. This is the first series in the lead-up to next year’s T20 World Cup, which will be held in the West Indies and the USA in June 2024.
Afridi was appointed captain of his Pakistan Super League team – Lahore Qalandars – and enjoyed instant success. The Qalandars won two PSL Cups under his leadership, becoming the first team to successfully defend the trophy. The ODI captain will be appointed “in due course”, the PCB said.
Mohamed Hafeez was appointed as the team manager
Head coach Grant Bradburn will also not travel with the Pakistan team to Australia and New Zealand, and a replacement is expected to be announced soon. Younis Khan is widely expected to take on the role. It is understood that Arthur and Bradburn have not been relieved of their duties, an action which this interim management committee would likely lack the authority to take. The roles that will be given to Arthur and Bradburn have not yet been announced, but their resignations are not understood to be imminent.