ICC World Cup 2023 : Shahid Afridi Makes BIG Statement On Pakistan Captain Babar Azam
Pakistan’s fortunes have slowly but surely started to turn in World Cup 2023. From numerous off-the-field controversies and being on the verge of getting knocked out of the tournament after four straight losses, Pakistan have found a new lease of life with their comprehensive 7-wicket victory against Bangladesh in Kolkata. A day after, South Africa hammered New Zealand, which means, Pakistan’s fate is back in their own hands now. All they need to do is, win their next two matches against England and New Zealand comprehensively and make sure their run rate is better than New Zealand’s.
Amid all this, however, there is the curious case of Babar Azam. The Pakistan captain, who entered the tournament pitted as the one to watch out for, has not been at his absolute best. He has scored three half-centuries in 7 outings but when you are Babar Azam, the expectations are higher. What’s more interesting is the fact that Pakistan lost all those matches in which Babar crossed the 50-run mark in this World Cup.
He scored 50 against India but Pakistan lost. He got 74 against Afghanistan but Pakistan lost. His third half-century came against South Africa but Pakistan lost again.
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In the three matches that Pakistan have won in this tournament so far against Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – Babar’s scores have been 5, 10 and 9 – three of his lowest. The team is not winning when its best batter is among runs but it wins when doesn’t score. Go figure!
Afridi says Babar’s 50s not enough to win matches for Pakistan
Of course, Babar alone doesn’t decide the outcome of the match, there are various other reasons behind Pakistan’s win or defeat. But is there a pattern in the way the Pakistan captain is approaching his innings? There might be. Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi feels one of the biggest reasons behind Pakistan’s struggles has been Babar’s inability to convert his starts into something substantial.
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His wicket was the turning point against India as the Pakistan innings collapsed after he got bowled trying to run a Mohammed Siraj delivery to third man. He scored 74 against Afghanistan off 91 balls but just when he should have accelerated to take Pakistan’s total above par, he was dismissed. The same thing happened against South Africa. Babar took his time, scored at a strike rate of 76 till he got to his half-century and then got out. His half-centuries were not really helping Pakistan’s cause.
Afridi said Babar should take a leaf out of India’s Virat Kohli or KL Rahul’s book, who make sure they are batting till the end to finish off the matches.
“Babar Azam ka run run karna alag cheez hai lekin Babar Azam ke score se match jeetna alag hai. Virat Kohli, KL Rahul wagera kya karte hai? Woh apne run bhi karte hai, balls bhi khelte hai aur apne team ko jita ke bhi ate hai. (Babar scoring runs and Babar scoring runs in a winning cause are two different things. Look at what Virat Kohli and KL Rahul do. They score their runs, consume deliveries and make sure they win the match for the team). I’m Babar’s fan, make no mistake. We say Babar is a big player. Reaching that level is one thing and maintaining your performance once you reach that level is much more difficult. When Babar Azam walks in to bat, we should get a feeling that we will win it for us. But that feeling doesn’t come. We know that he will score 50-60 but we are confident that he will win us the match,” Afridi said on SAMAA TV.
Shahid Afridi:” Babar Azam ka score sirf karna important nahi Babar ke score se match jeetna important ha. Jab bhi Babar ground mein jata ha hamko ye feel ni ati ke woh match jeetaye ga han ye pata hota ha ke woh apne 50 60 runs karde ga”. 👀 pic.twitter.com/hAWgrzHaMn
— Daniyal (@Daniyal550) October 31, 2023
How have Kohli and Rahul fared in India’s wins in this World Cup?
Kohli is India’s second-highest run-getter in this World Cup behind captain Rohit Sharma. He has been unbeaten twice in run chases – 103* against Bangladesh and 55* against Afghanistan. And whenever he got out in a chase, he made sure India were within touching distance of victory. While chasing, he scored 95 against New Zealand and 85 against Australia.
Rahul, on the other hand, has been unbeaten thrice in this World Cup during run chases. He was Player of the Match for his 97* against Australia. He then made sure India got over the line against Pakistan (19*) and Bangladesh (34*).
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