Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has been in great form in recent times, except for his performance in the Asia Cup 2022. However, the opening batter has come under a lot of scrutiny for his low strike rate. Azam dominated the format as evidenced by his nearly 1100-day reign at the top of the ICC T20I rankings chart before his countryman and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan ascended to the top spot earlier this month.
After the T20 World Cup squad was revealed last week, Pakistan’s Aaqib Javed criticised Azam most harshly. But Babar gave the former Pakistani pacer a befitting reply on Monday, ending his criticism. In an interview with Pak.TV, the former World Cup-winning pacer criticised the selection committee for sticking with Babar and Rizwan as the openers despite the team’s struggles to set goals due to their low strike rates.
“Our only mindset is to persist with these two openers and rely on them. They are effective, but where? When you have scores of 150-160 or lower. When we have a match with Karachi Kings and the total is 180+, we never really tried or wished to get Babar Azam out early. He bats at his own pace, and the (required) run rate keeps rising. Mohammad Rizwan also did well in the PSL, but when these two bat together, you see similar performances from them,” he said.
Babar Azam’s reply to Aaqib Javed
When a reporter questioned Babar about it before the start of the England series at home on Tuesday, he was disappointed by the criticism of the strike rate before he cautioned Javed to refrain from making personal attacks.
“Agar unko lagta hoga ki out na kaare toh achhi baat hain mere liye. Har ek ka apna point of view hota hain. I think it’s better if we focus now on Pakistan team. Logon ki apni opinion hoti hain. Na unki hum sunte hain ki woh kya kehe rahein hain, bahar ki batein humlog andar nehi laate na unse sunte he. Aap baat karein but mere kheyal se jab aap in cheezon se guzre hote hain and saare players in cheezon se guzre hain toh pata hain kitna mushkil hota hain, kitna pressure hota hain responsibilities hote hain so personal attacks nehi hone chaiye, me puri team ki baat kar raha hu. (It’s okay if he feels that way. Everyone has their point of view and I think it’s better we think from Pakistan’s perspective. He might have his opinion; however, we don’t listen to him. We don’t discuss outer talks within the team. Every player has gone through tough situations in their career so there shouldn’t be any personal attacks),” he said.