Embrace failure and take calculated risks as a leader.
Innovate and think differently in your leadership.
Seek advice from senior players to improve.
Former Pakistani cricket legend, Shahid Afridi, shared his candid thoughts on Babar Azam’s captaincy during the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023. Afridi, who led the Pakistan cricket team in the 2011 World Cup, expressed his desire for Babar Azam to prove him wrong by becoming a better captain, but lamented that his expectations had not been met.
Afridi noted that while Babar Azam had consistently excelled as a player, his leadership skills as the captain of the national cricket team had not seen significant improvement. “I wanted myself to be proven wrong. I wanted Babar to become a better captain with time, but that didn’t happen,” Afridi stated during a local sports show.
The former all-rounder emphasized the qualities he believes are essential for a successful leader, emphasizing fearlessness in the face of failure and the willingness to take calculated risks. “A leader doesn’t fear failure, he takes his chances with a full heart, especially when you are a good performer individually and there is no fear of losing your captaincy.”
Afridi further highlighted the importance of a captain’s ability to think differently and make out-of-the-box decisions, as well as the responsibility to face the consequences of those decisions. “He [a captain] has to do different [out of the box] things, he takes decisions and faces [the consequences].”
The former captain suggested that Babar Azam should seek advice from five to six senior players within the squad to improve his leadership. “So I think that apart from the management and coach, Babar should communicate with 5-6 senior players because when you do that, those players start to give their all.”
Afridi’s comments came in the wake of Pakistan’s one-wicket loss to South Africa in a thrilling match in Chennai, which severely impacted Pakistan’s chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals. This defeat marked Pakistan’s fourth consecutive loss in the tournament, a first in the team’s World Cup history.
With their hopes of securing a semi-final spot now hanging by a thread, Pakistan must win their remaining three matches against Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England. Even then, they would have to rely on other teams’ results, making their qualification prospects uncertain.
Babar Azam, as the captain, faces mounting pressure as he strives to lead Pakistan to a successful World Cup campaign and prove his detractors wrong, including the former captain, Shahid Afridi.
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