Who is behind dressing room leaks?

Pakistan’s cricket team, led by Babar Azam, has enjoyed a prolonged period of success. However, this success has come with its own set of challenges. The team’s popularity has surged, and any criticism, even on social media, attracts significant attention and reactions from their agents.

The players have gained immense influence to the point where they have started to influence the rules and regulations of their central contracts with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

With the upcoming World Cup, authorities are eager not to upset anyone and have been accommodating the players’ demands. This accommodating approach led to the 2023 Asia Cup, where India’s resounding 228-run victory over Pakistan on September 10 raised concerns about the national team’s weaknesses, especially in light of their defeat against Sri Lanka and elimination from the final.

Babar Azam, a cricket superstar in Pakistan both as a batsman and captain, faced criticism for his decisions during the Asia Cup, particularly in terms of fielding and bowler selection. Following the last match of the Asia Cup, reports surfaced of a heated argument between Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi, though sources within the team clarified that it was merely a discussion about the match.

However, the PCB is concerned about the leaking of dressing room conversations, with indications pointing to Imam-ul-Haq’s involvement. If proven, Imam should be cautious, as even the influential Chief Selector may not be able to protect him from potential consequences. Additionally, Imam’s untimely injuries have left officials surprised.

The recent defeats have highlighted internal issues within the team, prompting calls for immediate action by the authorities. Failure to address these issues may jeopardize the upcoming ICC World Cup, often referred to as the “World Cup of Captaincy.”

Some statements have also emerged suggesting that conflicts related to central contracts may have affected players’ performances. To ensure the prosperity of cricket, the focus should remain on the game itself, and players should be rewarded appropriately in terms of remuneration and recognition when they perform well.

Najam Sethi’s proposal for a hybrid model in the Asia Cup has stirred controversy, with players expressing exhaustion from extensive travel and concerns about uncertain weather affecting crowd turnout and revenue. It is now evident that canceling this year’s Asia Cup might have been a better decision. To prepare for the World Cup, players need confidence, and team dynamics should be improved to avoid a repeat of the Asia Cup situation in the World Cup.

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