Pakistan cricket is once again buzzing with calls for sweeping changes following the team’s disastrous T20 World Cup 2024 campaign. The team’s early exit from the tournament, for the first time in history, has sent shockwaves through the cricketing community, leading to a chorus of calls for change from fans, media, and former players alike.

The national team’s unexpected loss to the USA and a heartbreaking loss against India have fueled intense criticism. In response, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reportedly gearing up for a significant shake-up. Here’s what’s on the horizon.

Key Players To Be Dropped

First up, expect to see a lot of new faces in the squad. At least six players from the current team are likely to be dropped for the upcoming series against Bangladesh.

Key players like Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Afridi might be rested for the Test series against Bangladesh. This break isn’t just about giving them a breather; it’s a chance for the PCB to hit the reset button.

Source: Cricinfo

Speculation is rife about the six players who will face the axe. Along with the above-mentioned players, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Fakhar Zaman are also the top names in the firing line.

The reasoning varies: while Babar, Rizwan, and Shaheen are allegedly involved in dressing room politics, Iftikhar, Fakhar, and Shadab need time in domestic cricket to regain their form.

Who Will Lead The White-Ball Team?

Another hot topic is the captaincy. Babar Azam’s leadership in the white-ball format is under scrutiny, with whispers of Mohammad Rizwan taking over. No final decision has been reached yet, but Shan Masood’s position as the Test captain is safe.

Rizwan has a solid track record as a captain in domestic cricket and the PSL, demonstrating shrewdness and tactical acumen. He should have been appointed captain after Babar resigned following the World Cup 2023.

However, the PCB, led by Zaka Ashraf, appointed Shaheen Afridi, only for Mohsin Naqvi to reinstate Babar as captain in the white-ball format.

Source: Cricinfo

This leadership mess has fueled internal conflicts, with senior players vying for captaincy, prompting calls for a fresh leadership approach. It’s crucial to resolve this captaincy muddle to ensure a united team front.

Other Key Changes

The current nine-member selection committee is also facing heavy criticism. Officials are unhappy with the large committee’s performance, and a reshuffle is on the cards.

The PCB is considering a more streamlined panel, possibly with a single, unbiased chief selector deeply connected to domestic cricket. The experiment of having a headless committee has clearly failed.

Meanwhile, in a bid to prioritize performance over reputation, the PCB plans to revamp central contracts. The new criteria will heavily weigh fitness and on-field performance, meaning star players could see their contracts downgraded if they don’t deliver. Conversely, young players who shine will climb the ranks. This move aims to foster a more meritocratic environment.

Source: PCB

The PCB is also set to review the financial benefits offered to players, capping the number of No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for league participation to two per player. This move aims to ensure player availability for national duties and improve the quality of domestic cricket.

Final Thoughts

Chairman Mohsin Naqvi and his team will be mulling over these changes in the next few days, with several crucial decisions expected ahead of the Bangladesh series.

This includes a critical meeting with Babar Azam to dissect the reasons behind the World Cup failure. However, Babar has not yet returned to the country and extended his stay in the USA.

In summary, the winds of change are blowing through Pakistan cricket. Fans can only hope that these changes will lead to better performances on the field and a brighter future for the Green Shirts.

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