Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam did not shy away from the heated questions during a press conference after the second test match between Pakistan and New Zealand but did not put the blame for his team’s below-par performances on injuries and dead pitches.

His side managed to save both test matches against New Zealand for a 0-0 stalemate which followed a historic 3-0 whitewash by England.

Australia had earlier won a three-match test series in Pakistan as well, meaning Azam’s side has now gone eight tests at home without a win and squandered their best chance of making the World Test Championship final in Lords this year.

Babar has now admitted this is not how he saw things turning out.

“The test season hasn’t gone according to expectations,” he said during a press conference.

“Of course, there’s talk about the pitches, but conditions are different at every venue.

“We give our input on pitches, but you get the pitches you get, and after that, you have to execute your plans. You can’t just complain about losing a match because of pitches.

“We prepared them according to our plans, but results didn’t go our way.”

There are growing rumours among the cricketing fraternity in Pakistan that captain and player Babar Azam are two different things and that our country’s most prolific batter would actually benefit from giving up the shot-calling duties.

Whether that happens remains to be seen.

Despite Pakistan’s lean year, the batter enjoyed another brilliant individual season. With the turmoil in PCB also finally over and the return of the mainstays from injuries, Babar and Pakistan will look to mount another challenge when the next cycle begins.