‘Doesn’t know how to do captaincy’ – Kamran Akmal tears into Babar Azam following New Zealand defeat
Kamran Akmal has accused Pakistan skipper Babar Azam of poor captaincy after their defeat in the fifth T20I against New Zealand, where the visitors chased down 194 despite being reduced to 73-4 in the 10th over.
Led by a 62-ball 98 not out by opener Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan amassed 193-5 in their 20 overs as they looked for a series win at the fifth T20I at Rawalpindi. Shaheen Afridi got his team off to a flier, dismissing Tom Latham with the very first ball of New Zealand’s innings and added one more to his tally four balls later as he sent back Will Young. New Zealand were soon reduced to 73-4 in 9.5 overs, but a maiden T20I hundred by Mark Chapman and a 25-ball 45 from James Neesham saw the Black Caps chase down the target with four balls to spare.
The defeat resulted in a number of reactions, with Pakistan also accused of slowing down their run-scoring as Rizwan neared a hundred. The hosts managed only 28 runs in their last three overs as Rizwan faced nine balls, making 11 runs.
Akmal has also gone down heavily on Babar, saying his bowling changes were questionable and that he “doesn’t know how to do captaincy.”
Speaking to Cricket Pakistan, the former wicketkeeper said: “He [Babar Azam] still doesn’t know how to do captaincy after four years – he doesn’t even know which bowler to give to ball to at what time. It’s no surprise that they lost when they continued to make the same mistakes. We didn’t control our errors, and that’s why they emerged victorious.
“If both the left-handed batsmen were on the crease, the logical choice would have been to give the ball to Iftikhar Ahmed [off-spinner]. But instead, we saw the leg-spinner Shadab Khan being given the over and was being continuously smashed by the New Zealand batters. It would have been wise to rest him and bring in another all-rounder to give the team a chance to regain their footing.”
Earlier this month, Kamran had also slammed Babar for selections based on personal agendas and connections instead of merit. “Keep your personal agendas aside, drafting a team should be about putting Pakistan first, not personal agendas or preferences,” said Akmal at the time. “It’s concerning to see players being shifted between formats based on connections rather than performance. We can’t afford to treat team selection like a game of musical chairs.”