Legendary Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram has slammed Pakistan captain Babar Azam after the team’s humiliating defeat against Zimbabwe in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. Akram and his former bowling partner Waqar Younis criticised Babar for being selfish when it came to retaining his opening spot in the batting line-up.
In a discussion on a Pakistan channel following the team’s 1-run defeat against Zimbabwe, Waqar pointed out how there have been constant changes in the bowling department and the middle-order in Pakistan’s T20I team, however, the openers have never been changed.
Waqar believes opening is the easiest spot in T20Is and that Babar should have challenged himself by batting at no.3 and allowing someone else to take the top spot to set an example as a leader.
“The easiest place to bat in T20s is opening. You have not let anyone else open in the last two years. I have discussed this with Misbah before that why don’t you try something new? You have tried it out with bowling, but with batting, we have tried all the experiments with the middle order. But the openers have remained the same and they have batted 14-15 overs together,” Waqar said on A Sports.
“Sometimes, as a captain and as a leader, you leave your spot and say, Haider, if it is not working out for you in the middle order, I will give you the easier spot (opening) and we never tried that out, and that is why we are suffering. And we also lose because of the way they score runs. To become No.1 and No. 2 (in T20I rankings) is not a big deal, the important thing is to win after scoring those runs,” he added.
Akram agreed with Waqar’s comments on Babar and accused the Pakistan skipper of being ‘insecure’ and ‘playing for himself’. The former Pakistan pacer also went on to recall how Babar had refused to come down the order when Akram was part of the Karachi Kings’ backroom staff in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
“All of these things begin at the top. And at the top is your captain. If your captain plays for himself and is insecure. If your captain scores runs and lets other batters play at his position, you get to know that your captain is ready to sacrifice himself for you, this Babar has to learn,” said Wasim.
“I have been through this by the way with Babar, at Karachi Kings, yes. In the team we had a couple of bad phases and I requested him once or twice nicely, that please come down at number 3, we’ll try something different. Let (Martin) Guptill bat at the top, seeing he is an opener. And he (Babar) said I would not go down, you ask Sharjeel to bat at 3, and he (Sharjeel) is a natural opener too. And these little things that the captain does, the team senses too,” he added.
Pakistan’s shock defeat against Zimbabwe have put them on the brink of early elimination from the tournament as they have now lost their first two Super 12 clashes in a row. The Men in Green lost their opening game against India before suffering another last-ball defeat against Zimbabwe on Thursday.
Babar & Co. now have two matches remaining against South Africa and Netherlands, and will need a miracle to make it to the semi-finals of the competition.