LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Babar Azam has relinquished the captaincy but he remains the cornerstone of Pakistan's batting, test skipper Shan Masood said ahead of their tour of Australia.
Babar stepped down as Pakistan's all-formats captain earlier this month after they failed to make it to the semi-finals of the 50-overs World Cup in India.
Masood will begin his tenure with a three-test series in Australia and the top order batter said there was no doubt about Babar's stature in the side.
"Babar Azam is the best batter in the side and you build your team around your best batter so his position will not be tinkered with," Masood said in his pre-departure press conference on Wednesday.
Pakistan have been whitewashed in each of their last five tours of Australia, and a similar setback could spell the end of Masood's tenure given the tendency towards knee-jerk reactions by the country's cricket administrators.
But the 34-year-old says he is not worried about how long he will serve in the role and that being a captain or being a player were "temporary things at the end of the day".
"When you haven't done something before in history, you have an opportunity to go out there and try to change it. That's what we're trying to do.
"As long as you are in that place or seat, you should relish the opportunity, try and take responsibility, and give your best for the team," he added.
Pakistan's first test in Australia is scheduled to begin on Dec. 14 in Perth, while Melbourne and Sydney host the other matches.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)