The brilliant Babar Azam, now new captain
Babar Azam is the trending superstar at the moment after his top notch performances in PSL 2020. He steered Karachi Kings to the title with his brilliant batting. He was the man-of-the-match in the final and the man-of-the-tournament. Now, he is leading Pakistan in all the three international cricket formats as he has recently replaced Azhar Ali as the skipper of the Test side. So, what are the various challenges that Babar Azam has to face as the new captain?
Mercurial history of Pakistan
Pakistan is notorious for its unpredictability. And, this unpredictability is not limited to only team’s performance in a match. Remember Sarfaraz Ahmed? The skipper in all three formats. Now, he is either out of the team or part of players warming the bench.
One bad series and events can take a turn just like in case of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Furthermore, Sarfaraz Ahmed is not just a mere exception. Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Yousaf, Abdul Razzaq, and many more greats of the game were later shown cold shoulder though their performances were not the worst. For example, just look at the amazing stats of Muhammad Yousuf below (courtesy www.espncricinfo.com):
At the end of his career, Muhammad Yousaf was not even provided the opportunity of a farewell game or even a farewell speech. So, Babar Azam must be well aware of this fact that his firm position in the side now does not ensure any guarantee in the future, even as new captain.
Pakistan is currently poised at the following position in the cricketing world:
- Test: 7th
- ODI: 6th
- T20I: 4th
These ranking stats depicts that Pakistan has recently been performing poor. So, Babar Azam has a gigantic task at his hand to not only bat exceptional but also to make a team that can defeat top sides.
Weak bowling side:
The Pakistan cricket team selected to visit New Zealand has only one bowler that is a permanent member of all the three formats i.e. Shaheen Afridi. Some have retired from specific formats, others are trying to find their feet. For example, the older guns like Wahab and Amir have bided farewell from test cricket.
So, Babar Azam has to deal with number of different bowlers in all the three formats as the new captain. In the spin department, Yasir is only going to be part of Test, Shadab in ODI and T20I mostly, Usman Qadir is a newbie, and Muhammad Hafeez in T20I only. In fast bowling department, Abbas is going to be part of test only, Wahab in ODI and T20I only, Rauf mostly in ODI and T20I. Hence, it is going to be a challenging task for Babar to manage that much of a variety.
Inexperienced batting side:
With the presence of Azhar Ali, Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq, Pakistan’s team batting still is good on paper in Test cricket. However, none of these players are part of ODI and T20I. As a result, PCB has been experimenting with induction of new players to limited over formats.
In this context, Haider Ali has been a shining prospect. However, the lack of form of Fakhar Zaman along with inexperience batting order in the limited cricket format is going to be tough challenge for Babar Azam, the new captain. Ultimately, this is going to put extra burden on his batting.
“Confident that our team will do well in the T20 World Cup” says Babar Azam
Babar Azam is now the new captain and leading Pakistan cricket in Test, ODI, and T20I. Undoubtedly, as a batsman he is there among the present greats like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, and Williamson each of whom had/have led their sides brilliantly. However, in case of Babar Azam, he has been handed over a weak side. Pakistan team ranks quite low in all the formats, has a weak bowling unit, an inexperience bating unit, and a poor fielding reputation. Therefore, it is going to be extremely challenging for Babar to make Pakistan cricket team better again.
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