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‘Can’t make Babar a scapegoat. Players don’t even know…’: Wasim Akram | Cricket


‘Can’t make Babar a scapegoat. Players don’t even know…’: Wasim Akram | Cricket


Amid hopes of ‘Qudrat ka nizam‘ as Pakistan chased the impossible at the Eden Gardens on Saturday evening to make their first ever World Cup semifinal in 12 years, the 1992 champions stooped to their lowest. The equations were never in favour of Pakistan, and their chances almost vanished after England opted to bat first against them, but while there was hope that they could at least finish on a high, the side incurred a heavy 93-run loss in Kolkata. This was the first time ever Pakistan lost five matches in a single World Cup edition.

Wasim Akram defends criticism against Babar Azam
Wasim Akram defends criticism against Babar Azam

The loss, leading to a forgettable World Cup show in India saw Babar Azam immediately becoming the cynosure as fans on social media and experts criticised his captaincy. Babar’s performance as a batter was also targeted as he managed only 320 runs in nine innings, 154 runs less than his breakthrough performance in the previous World Cup edition.

However, the legendary Wasim Akram blasted Babar’s critics during his conversation on A Sports as blamed the faulty Pakistan cricket system behind the dismal World Cup show in India.

“The captain alone is not playing the game. Yes he did make captaincy errors in this World Cup and in Asia Cup as well. But he isn’t alone to blame. This is a fault of the entire system for the last one year or more where the players don’t know who is the coach. You cannot make him the scapegoat here,” he said.

Akram however admitted that the pressure of captaincy has affected Babar’s batting and that he averaged only 40 in this World Cup edition where he also lost his world No. 1 ICC batting ranking in ODIs.

“Babar is a star player and when he scores then the entire nation becomes happy and proud. But captaincy has put a pressure on Babar’s performance. He indeed looked stressed, both in World Cup and Asia Cup. So he needs to learn how to handle pressure and think only as a batsman and how to get runs when he is there at the crease. It is easier said than done,” he added.

Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who was part of the panel as well, agreed with Akram saying that when the entire bowling unit and the middle-order batters failed to perform, then Babar alone cannot be blamed for this poor World Cup outing. He however blamed the team management, the selectors and the captain as well for backing these “out-of-form” resources.

“As a fan of Babar, we did expect that he would be among the top-three run-getters. But in Indian conditions he failed. And in terms of resources, all were toothless. If the fast bowlers and the spinners are not performing then Babar is not the only one to blame. But when it comes to leadership, everyone has to take the blame, whether it is the team management, selectors, coaches and Babar. It is because these resources were picked by them and you backed these out-of-form players,” he said.


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