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The Pakistan Super League PSL 7 is underway with all the zeal and zest, and it looks like not everyone is having the best tournament. While most of the franchises have bagged at least one win in the league, Karachi Kings is the only team still looking to grab its first victory. The 2020 champions have played three matches till now, and unfortunately, they have been on the losing side.
Led by Babar Azam, Karachi Kings have been under hot waters ever since they lost the fourth consecutive match of the season. They are currently at the bottom of the points table and are under massive critique for their irresponsible display of cricket. But is it the change in captaincy that’s costing the team adversely, or are there other factors involved? Let’s scrutinize their situation bit by bit.
Karachi Kings under Imad’s Captaincy
The franchise had its fair share of changes in captaincy until 2018. In PSL 3, Imad Wasim was handed the right to command the team, and it was under his leadership Kings qualified for the play-offs thrice, including winning their first tournament title in 2020.
Babar Azam as a Captain
Given that Babar Azam was leading the national side so well, the Karachi franchise decided to hand over the captaincy to Azam, especially since displaying a remarkable stint in the T20I World Cup 2021.
To everyone’s disappointment, the 27-years-old hasn’t been able to lead his side, in the same manner he was leading team Pakistan before PSL. His own performance has gone below par, and the team isn’t doing enough. Batting, bowling, fielding, nothing is working for the Kings. It would be interesting to read that Fakhar, Babar, and Rizwan: How can Pakistan fit three into two?
The issues with Karachi Kings
The real trouble is how the team has been structured and team combinations.
The first three matches saw Babar Azam opening with Sharjeel Khan, and while Sharjeel has been putting in runs efficiently, the latter has been clearly struggling, choking essential runs.
The duo opened in the previous season as well, and even though it worked at that time, it is not working this time around. It can be argued that Babar may be under the pressure of captaincy hence the weak performance, but he’s been opening alongside Rizwan for the national side, and it has serviced well. Perhaps they should try modifying openers for a change.
Karachi Kings need aggressive bowlers.
Kings desperately need aggressive bowlers in their line-up. They are lacking pace in the team, which is why the team hasn’t been able to take quick wickets. But the franchise isn’t to be blamed for this one entirely since fast bowler Muhammad Amir has been out of the squad due to a hamstring injury. Another fast bowler, Chris Jordan, was away due to national duties.
But the team selectors should be taking notes for the next draft since it has been observed loud and clear that the team does not function without a pacer. Amir and Jordan will probably be available for the next match, and it should change the team’s circumstances.
Middle Order and Fielding
The management needs to revamp the middle order and experiment with new team combinations because no one from the middle stood out for the team in all three matches.
Fielding is another department Karachi Kings are lacking in. If improvements are not made here, it could put the upcoming matches in danger.
Is Babar to be blamed for all this?
As much as people are pointing fingers, it would be very wrong to put the entire baggage of blame on the skipper. The tournament has just started, and it’s been only three games for the Karachi Kings. While the fans’ frustration is justifiable, it is too early to formulate verdicts.
In 2020, when they won the PSL trophy, Karachi won five matches and lost four out of ten games they played. Similarly, in season six, the franchise was victorious in five matches out of ten and still qualified for the play-offs. Similar stats are there for season four.
But what is actually surprising is that Babar is taking too much time to recognize these mistakes. The team he is leading is neither entirely new, nor he’s playing for the franchise for the first time. He is well aware of the team’s strengths and should not be struggling as has been seen.
Karachi Kings will be back after a hiatus of four days on 4th February, and fans might get to witness a different team with a winning attitude and a winning combination for their fourth match. Because if things are not brought under control, the Kings should expect an early exit from the tournament.