Former Indian cricketer Rohan Gavaskar has defended Pakistan captain Babar Azam by stating he is not a one-dimensional player. Gavaskar insisted that the right-handed batter holds the ability to change gears.
Azam, who opens for Pakistan in the shortest format, has faced criticism on multiple occasions for failing to shift gears in matches. Although Azam has excellent numbers in T20I cricket, former cricketers have him criticized for not playing match-winning knocks.
Speaking on Sports 18's Sports Over the top, Gavaskar said that the Pakistan skipper is a quality batter and that his second-innings strike rate is better than his first. He claimed:
"To call him a one-dimensional player is a little harsh because he is a quality-quality player. And if anything, the numbers suggest that he is not one-dimensional. The fact that he can change gears and you look at his numbers from the first innings to the second innings.
"In the first innings, his strike rate is about 125; in the second innings his strike rate is about 137, which shows that he has the ability to change gears."
Former Pakistan seamer Aaqib Javed recently took a jibe at Azam's strike rate, saying that they never used to get the batter out during PSL as Azam often plays at his own pace.
"I think it is a mental mindset with Babar" - Rohan Gavaskar
The 46-year-old feels that Babar's defensive batting is down to Pakistan's unreliable middle-order. Gavaskar feels this put more pressure on the Pakistan skipper. He added:
"I think it is a mental mindset with Babar. Fear of failure. And when I say fear of failure, I don’t mean fear of failure as a batter. I could be wrong here; he feels that the Pakistan team revolves around his batting. So, when he is batting first, he feels that he’s got to stay long because if he fails, the team might fail and that can sometimes shackle a player."
The former number one-ranked batter recently scored his second T20I century against England. The Lahore-born batter has to come good for Pakistan as they attempt to win the T20 World Cup this year.