Mickey Arthur has backed Babar Azam for the Test captaincy after making his case to the Pakistan board for two more years at the helm, according to reports.
The PCB committee have been busy reviewing Arthur’s performance over the past three years as they decide on whether to extend the South African’s contract.
Arthur has certainly produced a mixed bag of results – from the high of the 2017 Champions Trophy final win over India and becoming the top-ranked team in T20s, to poor performances in Tests and most recently failing to reach the World Cup semi-finals in England.
According to the Indian Express, Arthur said he could deliver ‘remarkable years’ if given another two years, with his current contract set to expire on August 15.
Arthur also offered his own recommendations during a presentation to the committee – namely sacking Sarfraz as captain of all three teams, having said some ‘negative things’ about the wicket-keeper’s leadership skills.
The report went on to say that the 51-year-old put forward star batsman Azam for the Test captaincy and 20-year-old all-rounder Shadab Khan for the limited-overs formats.
Pakistan do not play again until their tour of Australia, which starts with the first of three T20s on November 3.
The report stated that England director of cricket Ashley Giles “had informally sounded out candidates” including South African Arthur, who also coached his nation and Australia.
According to BBC, Arthur confirmed his interest last month. Other candidates for the job are South Africa coach Ottis Gibson and former India boss Gary Kirsten.
However, some top names are not in the fray due to the lure of franchise cricket which offers more money for shorter assignments.
Australian coach Andrew McDonald told Test Match Special: “With the franchise game, you get the opportunity to work with the best players in the world and spend less time away from home.
“The excitement of the franchise space outweighs the grind, taxation and time away from the family.”
Pakistan star batsman Babar Azam is in the form of his life and he is making the most of it.
The best young batsman in the game entered the extended tour of England – that included an ODI series against England followed by the World Cup and now a stint with county side Somerset – high on hopes. And he has delivered.
Babar was one of the few bright sparks for Pakistan during their underwhelming World Cup campaign, hitting three fifties and a ton in eight innings. While it wasn’t quiet enough to seal a semi-final spot for Pakistan, Babar had proven his class at the biggest stage. And he took that confidence in the T20 Blast for Somerset, hitting successive fifties.
Two minutes of Babar Azam highlights? Yes please 😍— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 28, 2019
After a slow start in the first two matches, Babar cracked an unbeaten 95 off 61 balls against Hampshire. He followed it up with 83 off just 50 balls against Sussex. Unfortunately, both knocks ended in defeat.
With his two latest innings, Babar has extended his great run in England. In his last 10 innings in the country – ODIs and then T20s – Babar has hit four fifties and a ton. Two of those knocks were scores of 90s and only one outing produced less than 30 runs. And he entered the World Cup on the back of a century and an 80 in his last two knocks in the England ODI series.
It is his consistency which will give Pakistan fans and management hope for the future as he is well equipped to take on any condition and format.