‘A lot of respect’ – Following ‘intent’ criticism, Simon Doull and Babar Azam share lengthy conversation ahead of PSL game
Simon Doull and Babar Azam shared a lengthy conversation ahead of Peshawar Zalmi’s latest PSL game today (March 12), at the end of a week in which Doull’s criticism of Babar in T20 cricket has come under the spotlight.
Doull did not share the details of what was said, but there was “a lot of respect” between him and Babar.
Doull notably took aim at Babar during his century against Quetta Gladiators earlier this week. The Peshawar Zalmi captain took 16 balls to move from 80 to 100, and though his side put up a mammoth 240-2, Doull suggested he should have kept attacking as he approached his milestone.
“Hundreds are great, stats are brilliant, but it still must be team first,” he said, with his comments appearing prescient as Quetta Gladiators chased down the total with 10 balls to spare.
Doull came under fire from some corners after the game, and highlighted some of the abuse he had received on Instagram. “It’s just an opinion and I get paid for it,” he wrote. “It’s ok if you don’t agree but this language is never ok.”
Babar made 73 off 39 in his next game as Peshawar Zalmi again made it to 240 and again lost, this time to Multan Sultans. Doull, speaking after that game, explained how, in his opinion, Babar is “the best player in the world”, but that his “intent” could be a concern.
“When I talk about Babar, I talk about his intent. To me, he’s a world-class player, and I said a year ago, forget about the top four, he’s the top one. He is the best player in the world, so this is the sort of tournament he should be dominating, in my opinion. And it’s just an opinion, that’s all it is. Everyone’s got one. But he should be dominating these bowling attacks, not striking at 120, 130. I loved today. I loved the intent he showed today. And that’s all my point is. I love watching him play.
“He’s a touch player and these surfaces suit him down to the ground. But he should be dominating. He should be saying,‘Boys, I’m the Pakistan captain. You get me at your peril because I will dominate you. I’ve got all the shots.’ He plays the short ball, he plays the cover drive as well as anyone in the world. I don’t want him striking at 125, 130. I just don’t want him to be worried about getting out. And that’s sometimes what I feel. And Rizwan at times is a little bit the same. You are too good a player to ever be dropped. You are so good. Don’t worry about getting out. Just play.”
Before Peshawar Zalmi’s final group stage game, which Babar sat out through illness, he was spotted in deep conversation with Doull.
“I don’t need to say what was said,” Doull said, speaking on commentary during the Peshawar Zalmi game. “But it was very good from both sides. A lot of respect on both sides, and it was really good. He wasn’t feeling at his best.”
“Was it before the chat or afterwards?” quipped Sana Mir.
“Both!” responded Doull.
In Babar’s absence, Peshawar Zalmi managed just 179-8, but this time they were able to defend the total to win by 13 runs against Islamabad United.