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Pakistan Super League 2023

Imam-ul-Haq: Afridi is right – Babar needs to work on his finishing and his strike rate to reach the levels of de Villiers and Kohli

Imam-Ul-Haq: Afridi Is Right - Babar Needs To Work On His Finishing And His Strike Rate To Reach The Levels Of De Villiers And Kohli
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Imam-ul-Haq has weighed in on Babar Azam’s T20 strike rate, saying he must “bring more dominance” in order to scale the heights of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

Speaking on Samma.tv alongside fellow panellists Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq, Imam weighed in on Babar’s recent T20 performances. Babar, Pakistan captain across formats, had joined Peshawar Zalmi for PSL 2023, having left Karachi Kings after their disastrous campaign last year.

Since making 68 off 46 balls in his first game of the season against his former team, Babar’s other significant contribution has been an unbeaten 75 off 58 balls against Islamabad United. After that innings, Babar humorously snapped back at a journalist who questioned his strike-rate in the post match press conference.


Voicing his opinion on Babar’s performances, Afridi said: “Babar is No.1 in the world, he is the identity of the country, but one thing that stops him from reaching the AB de Villiers/Virat Kohli rank is finishing. As a matchwinner, he hasn’t proved himself yet. If I am wrong, you can correct me. I want him to become a finisher. He should finish games. That’s the thing holding back his class.”

Imam chimed in with his support, voicing his opinion on Babar’s strike rate: “I would like to add…because I know him and this is spoken about in our discussions. Babar agrees with it too. He says: ‘I have played enough cricket, I need to bring more dominance and command in my game so that I finish matches and don’t leave them midway’. Lala [Afridi] is absolutely right.”

Since 2020, only Mohammad Rizwan has scored more T20I runs than Babar, who is also the leading run-scorer in the history of the PSL. However, among the top ten run-scorers in the history of the PSL, his strike rate is the worst.

Imam emphasised his point by elaborating on Afridi’s comparison of Babar to Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, highlighting the chasm: “He [Babar] understands it and we’ve spoken a lot about it. We discuss matches need to be finished and he needs to dominate. To reach the domination levels, as you said, of Virat, I feel he needs to work on his strike rate.

“As Misbah said, after he reaches fifty, he should play like he wants to so that bowlers get scared of him. Even when he gets set, you don’t feel it as a threat [as a bowler], [you don’t feel] that he’ll hit you for shots here and there. If he’s able to get those finishing touches, it will benefit Pakistan, but most importantly, it will benefit him.•

Peshawar Zalmi will be back in action on Wednesday, in a rematch against Karachi Kings.

Watch the full interview clip below

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