Babar Azam's bold choice stirs controversy, as Pakistan captain prefers Naseem Shah over Jasprit Bumrah for crunch situation in T20Is

Published - 08 Apr 2024, 11:52 AM | Updated - 15 Jul 2024, 03:17 PM

Jasprit Bumrah, Babar Azam and Naseem Shah
Jasprit Bumrah, Babar Azam and Naseem Shah. Image Credit: X

Pakistan's limited-overs captain, Babar Azam, made a surprising statement involving India’s speedster Jasprit Bumrah, as he was showing rich praise on the young pace sensation Naseem Shah.

Showcasing his confidence in the young fast bowler Shah, Babar said that he might favor the Pakistani star over the experienced and one of the best in the business around the world, Bumrah, in a tense T20 scenario. Pakistan’s captain's statement might baffle the Indian fans.

Actually, in a recent podcast appearance, Babar had to face a hypothetical question, as he was asked who would he choose to defend 10 runs in the final over of a T20 match—Naseem Shah or Jasprit Bumrah? Azam promptly named the 20-year-old Shah without hesitation.

Babar Azam prefers Naseem Shah over Jasprit Bumrah in crunch moments in T20Is

The Pakistan captain highlighted Shah's resilience and skill while explaining his call to pick the Pakistani star over India’s Bumrah. He also lauded Shah's rapid recovery from a shoulder injury that had sidelined him for over six months, leading him to miss the 2023 World Cup in India.

As reported by Inside Sport, Babar Azam said on the podcast: “Naseem Shah. Firstly, I felt so happy for Naseem, for the way he returned to cricket after injury and the way he recovered. His skills are exceptional. We don’t often see talent like this in Pakistan.”

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However, Babar mentioned the valuable experience and talent of Shaheen Shah Afridi and said that Naseem Shah is on a similar trajectory of growth and success in his career to that of his teammate.

The Pakistan skipper noted, “There are others too, like Shaheen Shah Afridi. Shaheen is in a class of his own. but Naseem is on a similar trajectory, gaining valuable experience.”

Notably, Naseem recently had a successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2024 season, and his performance was a testimony to Babar’s statement.

Representing Islamabad United, Shah showcased his prowess as a vital player by snaring 15 wickets in 11 innings with an outstanding economy rate of 7.56. His stunning performance with the ball played a key role in Islamabad United clinching the PSL title earlier this year.

I was not expecting it from India: Babar Azam

Meanwhile, Babar Azam also opened up about his experience of playing in India during the ODI World Cup 2024 and how Indian fans were chanting his name during the tournament.

Babar said on Zalmi TV: “I was not expecting it from India. I was not expecting it at all. It was my first time in India and I had no knowledge about the country. It was a different experience. It was their love, Indian people gave us so much love, they appreciated our cricket.”

He added, “Even in our practice games, people were cheerring for us. The entire stadium in Hyderabad was jam packed. It was a different vibe. The entire stadium was see of blue. You are playing in India you can expect it. But in other venues, we also received expectional support as well.”

Babar signed off by saying on Indian food, “I loved Hyderabadi biryani and the samsoa chaat as well. It was unique.”

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Pakistan national cricket team Babar Azam Naseem Shah Jasprit Bumrah India National Cricket Team