Former cricketers criticize Babar Azam’s Defensive Captaincy on IND-PAK clash

Babar Azam scores his 19th ODI Century
Babar Azam (image: PCB)

Many Cricket experts have criticized the decision of the Pakistan Skipper on less-used Pacers in the IND-PAK clash in the Asia Cup 2023.

Babar Azam’s defensive captaincy on IND-PAK clash

India and Pakistan faced off each other in the 3rd match of the continental event at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on September 2.

The clash ended with no result as Pakistan’s innings were cancelled due to rainfall. Winning the toss India, chose to bat first, whereas Pakistan’s Trio of pacers performed exceptionally well. While Babar decides to not use them to bowl fully, cricket experts throw their views on Babar’s decision.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill opened for India while Shaheen Afridi opened the attack for Pakistan. The Skipper Rohit Sharma failed to create an impression as he was sent out with 11 runs. With Virat Kohli sent out with 4 runs by Shaheen Afridi, India is down to 27/2. After Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill was sent out with 14 and 10 runs respectively.

The Indian team struggled after they lost four wickets for 66 runs in the 15th over. Ishan Kishan came to the rescue of the team where he scored 82 runs and with Hardik Pandya’s 87 runs India got back into competition.

Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya had a partnership score of 138. After the fall of Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya, the other batters were dismissed with low figures.

Shaheen Afridi was impressive as he scalped 4 wickets in 10 overs for 35 runs, while Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf dismissed three batters each. By the 49th over India was all out scoring 266 runs.

Former player Shoaib Akhtar thinks that Pakistan pacers have performed well against India, but criticizes Babar Azam for using them less. He said, “Pakistan fast bowling has done wonders. Pakistan should have continued with pacers with short two-over spells from one end and operated spin from only one end. Pakistan should have bowled India out inside 40 overs itself. Pakistan should have capitalized after reducing India to 66-4. Babar Azam needs to be more aggressive as a captain,” on his YouTube channel.

Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar

Aakash Chopra also commented on Babar’s choices for bowling and said he missed an opportunity on fully utilize his seamers effectively.

He said, “Babar Azam got his spinners to bowl 21 overs when the opposing team was 66/4. You had 30 overs of fast bowling. I think he missed a huge trick and because of that, he allowed India to prosper,” Chopra said.

“It’s good, we don’t mind, but Pakistan should actually look inward and say that there was a captaincy error. The first was closed and you opened it and when you try to grab it again, it becomes slightly late,” he added. He said Babar missed a trick and maintained the pacer’s attack if they had the upper game in hand.

Sunil Gavaskar also talked about Babar’s decision to change bowlers for attack. He said, “I think the bowling changes didn’t make any sense because if you have three bowlers, the pace bowlers have taken the early wickets, you want to keep at least one ongoing from one end. I know that you can’t really go through long spells, but one person could have been bowling from one end and Shadab or Nawaz from the other end.”

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar(Image: BCCI)

Another former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan said, “21 overs 133 runs from spinners without a wicket was game changer. If India were bowling and Pakistan were 66/4 India would have kept fast bowling on as they had a liberty of 4 fast bowlers unlike Pakistan who were playing with 3. So I thought Team India would have been more disappointed with the rain after scoring above par score on that pitch which had variable bounce.”

Pakistan has qualified for the Super Four from group A and India will be playing their next match against Nepal on September 4 at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.