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Babar Azam made ODI captain with 2023 World Cup in mind: Misbah-ul-Haq

“He is a top-class performer and this is the right time to groom him,” Pakistan’s coach said.

SNS | New Delhi |

Pakistan’s chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday stated that Babar Azam has been given the responsibility of leading the ODI side keeping in mind the 2023 World Cup. Misbah feels that his appointment as skipper would now give him enough time to gear up for the event scheduled to happen on Indian soil.

The T20 skipper Babar had replaced former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed as the ODI skipper after the wicketkeeper was removed from the team across all formats following a string of low scores.

“We have kept in mind who can serve us in the long run. We have kept the 2023 World Cup in mind while picking Babar as ODI captain. He is the captain of T20 side, he is a top-class performer and this is the right time to groom him,” Misbah said.

“He is taking the challenge head-on. Since he became our T20 captain his Test performance has also improved. So why not, if he can take responsibility,” he added.

Star Pakistani pacers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were excluded from the contract and so was Hasan Ali.

“The selectors have made the tough decisions to leave out Amir, Hasan and Wahab but considering Hasan missed most of the season due to an injury and Amir and Wahab decided to focus on white-ball cricket, this was the right move,” Misbah said.

“However, Amir and Wahab are senior and experienced bowlers and they remain in contention as we believe they can still contribute to the Pakistan men’s cricket team and also mentor our young battery of fast bowlers. I spoke to them on phone and it was a tough call.”

Amir, who has 259 wickets for Pakistan across all formats, decided to quit Test match cricket in July 2019. Meanwhile, his fellow left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz has 228 wickets and last featured for Pakistan in a T2OI against Australia in November.

On former skipper Sarfaraz, coach Misbah said, “I feel Sarfaraz can play all three formats. He has been valued. He is not captain so he has been demoted. But he is very much in our plans. Mohammad Rizwan is there but he will be considered. He is still a valuable player.”