Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar has lambasted Pakistan captain Babar Azam following the team’s five-wicket loss to England in the second T20I in Manchester on Sunday. Pakistan, despite putting up 195 runs on the board for the loss of four wickets, could not defend the total with England captain Eoin Morgan starring with 66 off 33 balls. Akhtar slammed Babar for his captaincy, saying the Pakistan skipper looked clueless with his decision-making.
“Babar Azam looks like a lost cow to me He is out there, not knowing what to do. It is important for him to take decisions on his own so that it could help him become a better captain in the coming times,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
“There are instructions coming from outside for him, there are three people on the field who are trying to help him. Babar will need to understand that the chances coming his way, but it’s not going to happen for the rest of his life, so he needs to capitalise on it as much as he can, and emerge as a big brand.”
Akhtar’s criticism stems from Babar’s pace at scoring runs. Opening the batting, Babar and Fakhar Zaman got Pakistan to an explosive start with the pair putting on 72 runs in 8.2 overs. After Adil Rashid dismissed Zaman for 36 off 22, Mohammad Hafeez took charge, plundering 69 off 36 balls. Babar himself scored a half-century (56 off 44 balls at a strike-rate of 127.27), but Akhtar felt the Pakistan captain should have batted more aggressively after the fall of Zaman’s wicket.
“Talking about his strike-rate issue – he plays from 127 to 130-135, he can accelerate. I agree Fakhar Zaman is playing quickly, you don’t need to [accelerate]. But when Zaman got out, you need to play at your own strike-rate, like Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow play, they look commanding. Our players look scared. Don’t see any strength,” Akhtar said.