As Pakistan faces an imminent exit from the 2023 World Cup, following their failure to reach the Asia Cup final earlier, questions have arisen regarding Babar’s captaincy. The criticism prompted Babar Azam to respond, urging pundits to share their thoughts directly with him rather than on live television amidst the team’s lackluster World Cup performance. Despite his defense, reports suggest that Babar is contemplating stepping down from his role as captain in white-ball formats after the tournament.

The World Cup campaign has been disappointing for Pakistan and Babar, who had high hopes of reaching at least the semifinals. However, four defeats in the initial stages, including a surprising loss to Afghanistan, have dealt a blow to their chances. While they managed to recover with victories against Bangladesh and New Zealand, making it to the semifinals seems highly improbable with just one game remaining.

The scrutiny on Babar’s captaincy intensified due to rumors of a dressing room rift, with Shaheen Afridi allegedly leading a faction against him. Responding to the criticism before Pakistan’s final league game against England, Babar invited advice directly, stating, “If someone has to give me advice, everyone has my number. It is easy to give advice on TV. If you want to give me some advice, you can message me.”

Despite Babar’s public defense, a report from Geo Super suggests that he is likely to step down from captaincy roles in ODIs and T20Is after the World Cup. The decision is said to be influenced by discussions with former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja and others close to him regarding his future. Babar was reportedly engaged in a lengthy discussion with Raja at the Eden Gardens before the England game. The report indicates that the suggestion to step down stems from the challenges faced by prominent captains in Test series in Australia. A final decision is expected after Babar returns to Pakistan, considering a potential tour to Australia in mid-December for a three-match red-ball contest.

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