- Misbah and Malik criticize Babar Azam for harming bowlers’ confidence, focusing on Rauf’s powerplay struggles.
- Shoaib Malik and others express captaincy concerns, noting a lack of improvement and shared management responsibility.
- Pakistan confronts a pivotal showdown against South Africa on Friday, October 27th, adding intensity to their campaign in the ICC World Cup 2023.
In a surprising turn of events, former cricket stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik have openly criticized Babar Azam’s captaincy following Pakistan’s disheartening loss to Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup 2023.
Misbah, expressing his disappointment, attributed Haris Rauf’s declining bowling confidence to Babar Azam’s captaincy, specifically during the powerplay. According to Misbah, Rauf struggles early on, leaking 18–20 runs in the powerplay, affecting his overall confidence. He suggested a strategic change, advocating for the deployment of Rauf after the powerplay when there are four fielders in the deep, allowing him to unleash his bouncers strategically.
“We know that Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran play pace bowling well. If we could have brought in the spinners early and forced them to attack, they could have been in trouble,” said Misbah, highlighting the need for innovative thinking.
Shoaib Malik joined the critique, pointing out the struggles in the spin department and criticizing Babar’s lack of out-of-the-box thinking. Malik mentioned Saud Shakeel as a viable bowling option, criticizing the captain for not utilizing him effectively.
“Sorry to interrupt, Misbah bhai! Our spin department is also struggling. Our captain doesn’t think outside the box. Saud Shakeel is there; he can bowl, but you don’t give him the ball,” expressed Malik.
Misbah concurred with Malik, citing instances where Babar Azam opted for off-spinner Iftikhar instead of Saud in situations where the latter’s left-arm spin could have been more effective. Misbah emphasized Saud’s success against England and suggested that Babar’s decision-making needs to evolve for better strategic results.
In a separate development, former captain Shoaib Malik, in a private TV show, held Babar Azam responsible for Pakistan’s defeat against Afghanistan in the World Cup. Malik stated thatrauf “While Babar is a good batsman, he falls short as a captain”.
Former cricketer Moeen Khan echoed Malik’s sentiments, highlighting a lack of improvement in Babar’s captaincy over four years of leading the team in major events.
Adding his perspective, cricket legend Wasim Akram emphasized that everyone, including the chairman of the cricket board, coaches, chief selectors, directors, and captains, shares responsibility for the defeat. Akram expressed frustration with the players’ fitness, revealing that fitness tests have not been conducted for the last two years.
In conclusion, these critical remarks from cricket veterans underscore the growing concern over the captaincy and overall team strategy under Babar Azam’s leadership, urging a reevaluation of tactical decisions to revive Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup.
Notably, Pakistan faces a critical encounter against South Africa on Friday, October 27th, adding urgency to the need for strategic adjustments and a swift turnaround in their campaign.