In advance of Pakistan’s first ODI of the series against New Zealand on Sunday, Babar Azam attended the press conference. As Pakistan and the Kiwis played out a 0-0 Test series draw, the team’s captain Babar spoke in-depth about Pakistan’s recent performances in the longest format of the game. Babar is coming under increasing pressure for his leadership after the team went through the entire 2021–23 World Test Championship cycle without winning a single Test at home.

Babar was questioned about Shan Masood, who has just selected the vice-captain of the ODI team for the series against New Zealand, at the press conference. The Pakistani captain, though, questioned Shan’s inclusion in the starting XI.

On Sunday, Babar stated, “We can’t speak about any guy at the moment, whether he’s vice-captain or X, Y, or Z.” He said, “We will strive to select our best playing XI and aim to win the series.

Following Babar’s statement, both cricket fans and past players expressed astonishment at the current state of affairs between the board and the Pakistan captain. Sikander Bakht, a former Pakistani star, also criticized Babar for his remarks.

It’s not a strong claim. Strangely, you appointed him as the team’s vice-captain; did Shahid Afridi consult Babar before doing so? He ought to have inquired. Babar currently claims he is unsure about his status on the squad. On Geo Super, Bakht stated, “It’s not a good thing.

“I’ll ask Shahid Afridi and the board to speak with Babar rather than turning this into a political issue. After discussion, make a choice. We would all support every player because we are all Pakistanis, he said.

The 33-year-old left-handed batter Masood was made vice-captain in place of Mohammad Rizwan, the only wicketkeeper in the 16-man squad for the three ODIs.

Masood hasn’t participated in an ODI since 2019 when he competed in five matches in the United Arab Emirates against Australia. He ran for 111 runs, averaging 22.20.