IND vs PAK 2022: “Maybe Almighty wants him to score runs against India” - Wasim Akram on Babar Azam’s slow start to Asia Cup 2022

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Pakistan skipper Babar Azam. Pic: Getty Images

Pakistan legend Wasim Akram has admitted that Babar Azam has not lived up to expectations so far in the Asia Cup 2022. He, however, asserted that the Pakistan skipper is due for runs, which could come against India on Sunday, September 4.

Babar was dismissed for 10 against India in Pakistan's first match in the group stage and followed it up with nine in the team’s second game against Hong Kong. Despite their captain’s failures, Pakistan managed to book their Super 4 berth by hammering Hong Kong by 155 runs.

India and Pakistan will face off again in a Super 4 clash in Dubai on Sunday. Previewing the match, Akram stated that teams have been doing their homework against Babar and it’s up to the Pakistan captain to land a counter-punch.

In an interview with Cricket Pakistan, he opined:

"Every team now does their homework. If you have observed Babar’s batting in T20Is, if he doesn't get singles upfront, he struggles for runs. Unfortunately, he was dismissed early in the first two games.”

Akram, however, backed the 27-year-old to come good soon and added:

“There is a saying, 'blessing in disguise’, so maybe Almighty wants him to score runs against India.”

The former Pakistani captain also dismissed suggestions that the Babar-Muhammad Rizwan pair should be split and Fakhar Zaman should open the batting. Asked for his views on the debate, he replied:

“Babar and Rizwan have been opening the innings for the last year and a half. Fakhar was a natural opener but when Rizwan started doing well, he started playing at No.3. Changing the opening pair during the tournament is not ideal.”

Babar and Rizwan added 15 against India and 13 against Hong Kong. While the former was dismissed cheaply in both games, Rizwan contributed 43 and 78*.

“Middle order also needs practice” - Wasim Akram unhappy with Pakistan’s cautious approach

Akram expressed his displeasure over Pakistan's top order eating up too many deliveries in the name of practice against Hong Kong. He pointed out that the middle order also needs time at the crease. The 56-year-old stated:

"I can understand they (top-order) were thinking of having batting practice but the middle order also needs practice. Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed have only batted once; In big games, when the required rate is 10 or 12 runs per over or you have to score this many runs, practice in the middle is what one needs.
"When a team wins, criticism should end but they made little mistakes. One of them was taking singles in the 17th and 18th overs; when you have nine wickets in hand, then there is no justification for singles, one must just go for the kill because other batters are there too.”

Pakistan scored 193 for two against Hong Kong. Rizwan faced 57 deliveries for his 78*, while Zaman needed 41 balls for his 53. Khushdil Shah then had to play a brilliant cameo (35* off 15) to lift the team’s scoring rate.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert
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