"He invites criticism with the kind of fitness he carries" - Salman Butt's blunt take on Azam Khan's flop show in ENG vs PAK T20I series

England & Pakistan Net Sessions
Azam Khan during a practice session. (Pic: Getty)

Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt reckons that keeper-batter Azam Khan will be criticized for his poor fitness whenever he fails to perform. The youngster bagged back-to-back failures in the Men in Green's recently concluded four-match T20I series against England.

The first and third T20I were washed out due to rain. Azam scored 11 runs in the second fixture and was dismissed for a five-ball duck in the fourth and final contest on Thursday, May 30. Speaking on his YouTube channel, here's what Butt said about the 25-year-old:

"Everything related to Azam Khan will be criticized whenever he doesn't perform. This is because what he presents is open to criticism. He invites criticism with the kind of fitness he carries. He had problems against the short ball."

Urging Azam to work on his fitness, Butt added:

"People are going to speak about him. The way he got out today, his eyes were closed while facing the short ball, and then his wicketkeeping. His fitness is always going to be under the scanner. I think he has to decide on his career. He should work on his fitness, otherwise, it is going to be very difficult for him to play."

It is worth mentioning that Azam's keeping was also quite poor in the fourth T20I as he dropped two catches. England completed a 2-0 series win over Pakistan to gather momentum ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Azam is part of Pakistan's squad for the showpiece event. However, he is yet to prove his mettle at the international level, scoring just 88 runs from 13 T20Is at an average of 9.77.

"Isn't someone who should be batting at No. 4" - Salman Butt on Shadab Khan

All-rounder Shadab Khan batted at No. 5 in Pakistan's batting lineup during the four-match T20I series. However, the ploy wasn't successful as he registered scores of 3 and 0.

Suggesting that Shadab should not be batting so high in the order and commenting on the leg-spinner's bowling form, Salman Butt remarked (in the same video):

"Shadab Khan isn't someone who should be batting at No. 4. Yes, there might be an odd good knock, but if you bat at one position regularly, you might do well once in a while. He is not having a good time. His first two overs were good in this game. But his confidence went downhill after after Bairstow hit him for two sixes."

Shadab went wicketless in both the T20Is of the series. He gave away 55 runs from four overs in the second T20I. He did a better job in the fourth fixture, conceding just 20 runs from three overs.

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