Hitting back at critics for questioning his leadership skills, Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Friday said it is easy to make sense on television and claimed the captaincy had no negative impact on his batting in the Cricket World Cup 2023. Azam has been in the eye of the storm. after their embarrassing eight-wicket defeat against Afghanistan and for failing to defend 271 against South Africa, which they had reduced to 260/9. Former skippers, including Moin Khan and Shoaib Malik, have openly criticized Babar’s captaincy in the air, feeling that the burden of management has affected his batting.
“It is very easy to give opinion on TV. If anyone wants to give advice, they are welcome to call me directly, my number is known to everyone,” Babar said, referring to the criticism.
Malik had claimed that Babar was king as a batsman but not as a leader.
“The guy most responsible is the captain,” Malik had said.
Moin had felt that Babar should learn from Indian batsman Virat Kohli, who is now more focused on batting after stepping down as captain. “He would have been better off playing as a batsman than leading this team. Look at Kohli,” Moin said.
Babar held firm and said his form was never affected by the criticism.
“I’ve been the captain of my team for the last three years and I’ve never felt like that. It’s just that I haven’t performed as I should have in the World Cup, that’s why people say I’m under pressure.
“I don’t think I was under any pressure or felt different because of this. I try to give my best in the field during the field. While batting, I think about how to make runs and make the team win.” he said.
Faced with a barrage of questions from Pakistani reporters, including the possibility of stepping down from the captaincy, Babar remained steadfast and composed, playing with a straight bat.
“I have no idea what decisions you are talking about. The decisions we make here, regarding the selection of players – are the decisions of the coaches and the captain.
“We go for the best combination of conditions and situations. Sometimes we’ve succeeded and sometimes we haven’t.” “On the captaincy – like I said, when we go back to Pakistan or after this game, we’ll see what happens. But right now I’m not focusing on this, my focus is on the next game.” In a disastrous World Cup campaign, Babar (282 runs) hit four half-centuries but could convert his starts into triple-figure scoring, which has hurt the team badly.
New Zealand’s five-wicket win with 160 balls to spare over Sri Lanka on Thursday has all but ended Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Pakistan must now win against England by an astronomical margin here on Saturday to overtake New Zealand’s net run rate and seal a last-four berth.
Babar said their losses to Afghanistan and South Africa have cost them dearly.
“We should have won our games against South Africa and Afghanistan, because of which we are at this stage. We will try our best to finish on a good note. You never know, it’s cricket,” Babar said of the match against England .
“You can’t say it’s the fault of bowling, fielding or batting. As a team we couldn’t execute. We can’t say we got that many runs in bowling or lost runs in fielding. As a team we didn’t execute plan or play as needed – that includes bowling, batting and fielding.” Babar also refused to agree that the team’s performance has declined sharply since the 1999 World Cup.
“Because we haven’t done well in this World Cup or the last World Cup, you can’t say we haven’t done well since 99, we’ve dominated and we were number one in One-day. Yes, we’re not able to finish well. We will work on it and finish well.” Their lack of experience playing in India has also affected them, the skipper said.
“We came here for the first time. We didn’t have the awareness of how to take it, but we adapted as quickly as possible in practice that we will have to see it like this.
“To be honest, we got a lot of love from India, a lot of support. Not just me, the whole team. Of course I wasn’t able to get a good finish,” he said.
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