Pakistan had a forgettable outing in the ongoing ICC ODI World Cup in India, failing to qualify for the semifinals after losing five of the nine matches. Skipper and star batter Babar Azam has come under a lot of fire for failing to lead by example with the bat and for his dismal leadership on the field.
Several former Pakistani stalwarts, including Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq, said that Babar Azam must give up captaincy and focus on his game. Speaking about Pakistan's campaign at an event in Karachi, the ex-players said that he was given enough time to prove his capability as a leader, but failed.
Razzaq pointed out that Babar had been captain since late 2019. "I have always said this, if you are honest and sincere in your decisions as captain, things will work out accordingly. Unfortunately, he has made some wrong calls and that is the reason for our poor performance in the World Cup," he said.
While Razzaq's criticism seemed fair, what got the netizens talking was his reference to Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai while talking about the team and Pakistan Cricket Board's lack of 'intent' or motive.
“We don’t have any intention to develop and polish players in Pakistan. If you think that by marrying Aishwarya, a good and pious kid would be born, it won't happen.”
Other veterans like Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul who were present at the event, were seeing laughing and applauding Razzaq's remark.
Netizens were quick to slam Razzaq for the remark, calling it a “new low” and a “terrible thing to say” about the former Miss World and Bollywood icon, who is married to actor Abhishek Bachchan.
Babar Azam is expected to meet PCB chief Zaka Ashraf this week to take a call on his all-format captaincy.
Following the disappointing World Cup campaign, former South African pacer Morne Morkel resigned as Pakistan's bowling coach without completing his contract. He had joined on a six-month contract in June this year.
Pakistan's next assignment is a three-match Test series against Australia from December 14, 2023, to January 7, 2024, in Australia.