Pakistan Coach Saqlain Mushtaq Could Step Down, Babar Azam Might Lose Test Captaincy: Report

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Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq could step down following the team’s Test debacle against England at home, with sources also saying that Babar Azam might also lose his captaincy in the longest format by July next year. A source close to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told PTI on Wednesday that the former off-spinner could leave after the home series against New Zealand, beginning with the Test in Karachi on December 26. The source said that immediately after the Test ended in Karachi on Tuesday, Babar and Saqlain had flown to Lahore.

“A high-level meeting was held in the office of the PCB chairman Ramiz Raja at the Gaddafi Stadium in which chief selector, Mohammad Wasim also participated,” the source said.

He said Babar, Saqlain and Wasim briefed Raja on why Pakistan had lost the Test series 3-0. “Every aspect of the team, selection matters, the captaincyand Saqlain’s role were discussed threadbare in the nearly three-hour-long meeting,” the source added.

He said the chief selector was supposed to announce the squad for the two Tests against New Zealand after the Karachi Test ended on Tuesday, but the announcement was delayed till Wednesday on Raja’s instructions.

The source added that Raja had given a piece of his mind to Babar, Saqlain and Wasim and made it clear that he was not happy with the selections made for the series.

“Babar told the chairman that the injury issues with the three main fast bowlers, Shaheen (Afridi), Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah, had hit their plans hard and weakened the bowling considerably, allowing England batters to score freely,” the source said.

The source added that Babar told Raja that right now Pakistan don’t have the experience and quality players required to take on teams like Australia, England and New Zealand.

Saqlain confirmed to Raja that, as earlier decided, he will leave his head coach’s position after the New Zealand series in January and the PCB should start looking for a new coach.

The source also said that the board felt Babar would be better off just captaining the white-ball squads and that the Test captaincy should be given to someone else, preferably Shan Masood or Mohammad Rizwan.

“A lot of discussion has been held on Babar’s future as Test captain and it was decided to maintain status quo for now.” The source said that a unanimous decision had been taken that it would not be prudent to remove Babar as Test captain between now and July as it would demoralise the team and also affect the captain’s form.

“But what is decided is that, in July Babar will be changed as Test captain,” the source said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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