Angry Over Intrusive Security Measures, Babar Azam Stood Off-field In Protest: Reports

Babar Azam in a press conference© AFP

Pakistan captain Babar Azam stayed off the field in the first hour of the second day of the third Test against England, apparently to protest against intrusive security measures for the players and their families. According to media reports Babar was angry when he was stopped from going out with some other members of the team and their families for dinner on Saturday night from the team hotel. Babar had planned to go out to dinner with Sarfaraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, and Imam-ul-Haq with their families at a local restaurant.

But when he came down from his hotel room, the security personnel stopped him from going outside making it clear that he and other players had to seek prior clearance about their movements as the two teams are being provided President level security for the series against England.

The captain was not happy with the security measures and termed them as intrusive after a heated argument with a senior official and went back to his room in a huff.

Reports say that he, on Sunday, didn’t come out to lead the team for one hour and remained in the dressing room to protest the behaviour of the security personnel.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for its part has largely remained silent on the incident but the official version given out is that Babar had a severe headache when he came to the ground which is why he couldn’t come onto the field in the first hour.

Pakistan and England are both being provided President level security for the series as the PCB is not willing to take any chances, given that England is touring Pakistan for a Test series after 17 years.

But insiders say the players have now become fed-up with the round-the-clock security around them which does not allow them to go out of the team hotel without prior permission and clearance.

“It is for their own good and Pakistan cricket,” one PCB source.

Sources close to the players say that while security for the visiting side is understandable why should the Pakistani players be subjected to such strict measures. PTI Corr AT AT

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