Be open to advice: Former Indian captain Azharuddin’s message to Babar Azam

Babar’s captaincy is under scrutiny following Pakistan's home defeats to England and New Zealand


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Mohammad Azharuddin and Babar Azam. — Twitter
Mohammad Azharuddin and Babar Azam. — Twitter

Published: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 10:10 AM

Pakistan batting superstar Babar Azam has made a fine start to his 2023 Pakistan Super League campaign with a match-winning 68 for the Peshawar Zalmi against the Karachi Kings.

Babar’s excellent batting form also earned him the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year award recently, the latest piece of silverware for the Pakistan captain that he has added to his trophy cabinet.

But it’s Babar’s captaincy that's now under scrutiny in Pakistan following home defeats to England and New Zealand.

Having drawn the two-Test series against New Zealand at home where Pakistan bowlers failed to make an impact, Babar’s team lost the one-day series 2-1 to the Kiwis.

England had visited Pakistan before the Kiwis for a three-match series in what was the English team’s first visit to the South Asian country in two decades.

While the high-profile team’s Pakistan visit brought great joy to the cricket-mad country that had been deprived of international cricket for a long time after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, the performance of the home team hit a new low.

England, armed by their new aggressive batting approach known as ‘Bazball’, thrashed Pakistan 3-0 in the Test series, sparking panic and chaos in Babar’s team.

The embarrassing defeat led to serious question marks on Babar’s captaincy with many critics and former players asking for the removal of Babar as the national captain.

But former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin has come to the defence of the beleaguered Pakistan star, asking his critics to support him.

“Rather than giving him flak, at least you can help him. Go and talk to him, I am sure he will be open to advice,” Azhar said during a recent meet and greet session at the Khaleej Times headquarters.

“I think he is a good player, there is no doubt about it, that’s why he got the ICC award. But as far as his captaincy is concerned, I think he is the captain for only one and a half years. Maybe it will take a bit of time for him to understand what’s happening,” he added.

“So I am sure he will be open to advice. When you are playing the game at that level, you should always listen to someone. There might be one small piece of advice which could be good for you and which can change your whole perspective of your game.”

Now Pakistan fans will be hoping that Azhar’s words won’t fall on deaf ears.


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