Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam: From a National Hero to a Struggling Opener

Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam- not so long ago, the most treasured nation cricketer but now under scrutiny for both his batting and captaincy. What went wrong and are some of the reactions justified? Let’s dive deep into the topic. 

Once the number 1 T20I batter, now the most criticized T20I batter 

Babar Azam became the number 1 T20i batter twice in his cricketing career. But recently there have been several concerns about whether he deserved the crown of being the best batter in the shortest format. If we look at his stats, one would say yes. However, Babar has been criticized for having a slow strike rate and not playing proper attacking cricket since this year’s Pakistan Super League. His 40 balls 50 was referred to many times on social media as not being helpful to his team. The apprehension grew even more during the Asia cup and now they have reached the sky after his performance in the T20 world cup.

Also Read: Players who could retire after T20 World Cup 2022

The shortest format turned out to be the biggest problem for Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam

The skipper is struggling to score quick runs or even just runs. Until the match against Bangladesh, Babar had scored only 14 runs with an average of 3.50 and a strike rate of 46.66. His recent performances against Bangladesh have added to everybody’s doubts. The 28-year-old player was not able to redeem himself even while chasing just 128 runs. He was able to score only 25 runs and that too on 33 balls. He failed to utilize the power play properly once again. 

People are now questioning if he should consider coming at Number 3 and leaving his spot for an attacking opener. Pakistan’s powerplay strike rate which is 5.93 seems worrying to the public. There is also this debate about the openers putting pressure on the middle order and not leaving them enough overs. 

Should the batting performance be used to disapprove of his captaincy?

If we look at his captaincy aspect, Babar hasn’t always been the most brilliant captain with his on-field calls and player selection. From playing Hasan Ali in the semi-final and not utilizing the bowlers properly to not giving Nawaz more than one over to bowl in the Asia cup final, the journey has been rough. But his decisions in this year’s world cup have been applaudable.

One can argue about why 4 pacers were not played against a controversy-hit India match but he was spot-on with his on-field decisions. Giving Haris a chance in one of the biggest tournaments was a risk but it worked out very well in the end. It won’t be wrong to say that the captaincy improved quite a bit. 

Should reactionary fans be allowed to make overly exaggerated assumptions?

Fans do have a right to be disappointed and criticize one of their best batsmen and the leader of their team. But is it justified to bring a player from the sky directly to earth without even giving them a proper chance to fix their mistakes? I guess not. 

The solutions which can help ease the troubles of the national captain

Whether Babar should give up the captaincy for his own sake is another debate. If he feels like it’s too much to handle and it’s adversely affecting his batting then it’s not a sin to consider it. But his performance in batting shouldn’t be used as a tool to speak ill of his captaincy. Afficados should remember to credit where it’s due. 

The struggle to score runs at a quick pace is indeed real but it nowhere means he doesn’t have the ability to achieve that. His stats and achievements speak for themselves. What Babar needs to do is sit down and introspect what he is doing wrong and then think about changing his position. Giving a batter like Haris to play in power and coming one down would be a nice way to take a break from opening and play at one’s strength.

Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam is going through a rough patch. From the burden of being the captain of a team in all three formats to the guilt of not performing with the bat to the disappointment of ex-players using his failure to further an agenda and to the sadness of not reaching the expectations of his loved ones, it is indeed a difficult time for him. 

Let’s not equate constructive criticism of one of the greatest batsmen to ever play for the green jersey with bullying and trolling. Let’s also not be blind fans and ignore the flaws but instead, point them out in a way that actually helps him fix his mistakes. 

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