Kamran Akmal, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, has said that the criticism directed towards Babar Azam in T20Is is unfair, terming it a ‘tragedy’ that the No.2 ranked T20I batsman in the world is blamed for not winning Pakistan enough games.
Speaking about Pakistan’s selection policies in an interview with PakPassion.net, Akmal said that the current approach tends to be harsh towards the experienced lot, citing Mohammad Hafeez’s example to highlight that even ageing players have still a lot to offer and need to be handled respectfully.
“I have seen this happen too often,” Akmal said, “when people seem to write off international cricketers without knowing how much they have struggled to get into the national side and it’s become far too easy for people to say that a certain cricketer is now finished so let’s replace him.
“We had so many people including ex-cricketers talking about replacing Mohammad Hafeez and now that he has stood up and helped Pakistan win games, they don’t have a leg to stand on and hopefully they have learnt their lesson now.”
Akmal went on to speak about Babar, who has been panned for his relatively sedate approach as an opener in T20Is — Shoaib Akhtar, for one, called Babar a ‘lost cow’ last month, criticising his captaincy and strike-rate. In the recently concluded series in England, Babar garnered scores of 56 and 21 at a strike-rate of 127.27 and 116.66 respectively, a notch lower than his T20I career strike-rate of 127.93.
JUST IN: Dawid Malan is the new No.1 batsman in the ICC men's T20I rankings, displacing Babar Azam to clinch the top spot 💪 pic.twitter.com/9aK8q30REX
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 9, 2020
“An even greater tragedy is that people have started to criticize our number one batsman, Babar Azam, saying that he isn’t scoring runs at a fast-enough rate or isn’t winning enough games,” Akmal said. “What is becoming of us?”
“If we wish to improve things then instead of looking down on a player like Babar, we should spend our energy motivating him. But once again, I feel that the team management needs to make sure that all players in the squad are looked after and given confidence instead of preferring to concentrate and spend energies on a select few who are their favourites.”