Challenges for Babar Azam as the new Pakistan captain

Babar Azam has been appointed as the new test captain of Pakistan.

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?

Also, Read – Who is the greatest T20 batsman among Dawid Malan, Babar Azam and Virat Kohli?

Mercurial history of Pakistan

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf in action during the 5th NatWest ODI between England andts a boundary Pakistan at The Rose Bowl on September 22, 2010 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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.

Babar Azam takes over test captaincy for Pakistan

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):

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 90 156 12 7530 223 52.29 14372 52.39 24 33 957 51 65 0
ODIs 288 273 40 9720 141* 41.71 12942 75.10 15 64 785 90 58 0
T20Is 3 3 0 50 26 16.66 43 116.27 0 0 5 1 1 0

 

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.

Muhammad Yousaf’s Career

Ranking:

Pakistan is currently poised at the following position in the cricketing world:

  1. Test: 7th
  2. ODI: 6th
  3. 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:

How will Babar Azam, the new test captain, use Shaheen Shah Afridi the bowler?
Pakistan’s bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi (R) celebrates after taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Mominul Haque during the fourth day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on February 10, 2020. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Babar Azam steers Karachi Kings to victory in PSL 2020

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.

Also, Read – How Important is Shaheen Shah Afridi for Pakistan Cricket 

Inexperienced batting side:

England dominated Pakistan thanks to five wickets from Jimmy Anderson despite Azhar Ali scoring an unbeaten 141 not out
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 23: Azhar Ali of Pakistan celebrates after reaching his century during Day Three of the 3rd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on August 23, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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 Cupsays Babar Azam

Summary:

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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