Former Pakistan National Cricket Team all-rounder Asif Iqbal, who played 58 Tests and 10 ODIs for the side, believes that the all-format skipper of the Men In Green, Babar Azam, “can bat with added freedom” if the limited-overs captaincy is handed to the star wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan.
Babar’s captaincy has come under scrutiny following Pakistan’s poor home season where they lost a 7-match T20I series against England and got whitewashed by Ben Stokes & Co. in the Test series in their own backyard. Also, the Men In Green lost an ODI series against New Zealand and failed to win a game in the two-match Test series against the same opposition.
Speaking to Dawn News, Iqbal said that Babar is the “best batter” of Pakistan and he can perform even better with the bat if he has no captaincy responsibility on his shoulders.
“Leading in limited-overs games can be extremely draining, and Babar is Pakistan’s best batter and therefore needs to be properly handled. If limited-overs captaincy is given to Rizwan, Babar can bat with added freedom for the team without any extra responsibility,” he said.
New Zealand played better cricket than Pakistan; the visitors adapted to the playing conditions – Asif Iqbal
Iqbal further said that the Black Caps outperformed Pakistan in the ODI series and they adapted to the conditions quickly.
“New Zealand played better cricket than Pakistan; the visitors adapted to the playing conditions, which were alien to them, more effectively than the host team. Teams winning away series against good opponents means they are better than the home side,” he said.
He added that the overall performance of Pakistan has been quite good in white-ball cricket in recent times, but losing the series at home is a worrying factor.
“Overall, Pakistan have played well in recent limited-overs cricket, including the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia where they reached the final but losing series on home turf is worrying,” he added.