The Director of Media at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Aalia Rasheed, recently defended the press release that was issued by the board following Pakistan’s poor performance in the World Cup 2023 against Afghanistan. Pakistan’s loss to Afghanistan in the World Cup stemmed a hate for the national team from the fans.
Pakistan failed to make it to the ICC World Cup 2023 semi-finals. They lost to England in their final league match to exit from the tournament. In the process, the team’s wait to win their next World Cup was prolonged. More particularly fans were disappointed after the Men in Green lost to Afghanistan in the group stage which was one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. This was Afghanistan’s first ODI win against the Men in Green and it came at the World Cup stage.
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq were constant targets of fans since the team’s World Cup exit. The PCB in a statement asked the fans to show their support towards the team and the management, but the statement was more like a warning for Babar Azam.
PCB never, for once, criticized Babar Azam – Aalia Rasheed
“Addressing the media scrutiny directed at captain Babar Azam and the team management, the board’s stance, echoing that of former cricketers, is that successes and defeats are part of the game. Captain Babar Azam and Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq were given freedom and support in forming the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023,” the release read.
“Looking ahead, the board will make decisions in the best interest of Pakistan cricket based on the team’s performances in the World Cup. At present, the PCB encourages fans, former players and stakeholders to rally behind the team as they strive to make a triumphant comeback in the mega-event” the PCB further said.
Aalia Rasheed clarified that the PCB never blamed Babar for the losses and highlighted that the coach and the selector were responsible for the team that was selected for the World Cup.
“One thing I want to make clear is that the PCB never, for once, criticised Babar Azam or the team during the World Cup nor did they try to hold Azam responsible for the losses,” Aalia said while talking to a local media outlet.
The PCB media manager further clarified that the board was ready to help with everything that Babar Azam as a skipper asked for. She spoke about Babar’s independent nature but said that she could not disregard the importance of the recommendations of other selection committee members. She further said in the press conference that Babar and Inzamam chose the team for the World Cup which was the truth.
“Look, Babar is a respectable player there is no doubt about that and he has an independent nature, and I believe that every captain should possess that quality but it doesn’t mean that you ignore the recommendation of other selection committee members. In that press release, it was stated that the team was chosen by Inzamam and Babar and that was the truth. He [Babar] wasn’t ready to compromise on even a single player and the board supported him. It is a fact whether one accepts it or not,” Aalia added saying.
Post the World Cup, the PCB has made many changes to its management and captaincy. Shan Masood was named as the new test captain and Shaheen Afridi the T20I captain after Babar decided to step down as captain across formats. Wahab Riaz was named as the PCB Chairman while Mohammad Hafeez the Team Director.
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