Babar Azam has suffered a lull, by his standards, in the ongoing Test series against Zimbabwe in Harare. He has registered scores of 0 and 2 in the two innings across the two Tests he has batted in so far.
Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar in his cheeky way says that the skipper is in a “quarantine within a quarantine.” He explains that in both the Tests, Babar Azam had to sit for a long time in the dressing room with his pads on as the top 3 batted at length in both innings.
In the first Test, which the visitors won by an innings and 116 runs, Babar Azam came to bat in at the 64th over; he was dismissed for a first-ball duck by Donald Tiripano. In the second Test, he had to wait even longer till the 83rd over to have his opportunity to bat; the Pakistani skipper’s stay at the crease lasted 8 balls as the young sensation Blessing Muzarabani sent him back to the change room.
Babar Azam should have scored at least 300-400 runs during this series: Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar believes that sitting with the pads on for such a long time disconnects the batter’s focus and concentration when he goes out in the middle – which he reckons happened with Babar Azam in the two innings.
The former pacer ponders if there is something to worry about the right-hander’s form despite his brilliant scores in the white-ball matches against Zimbabwe and South Africa. Akhtar expected Babar Azam to score “at least 300-400 runs” in this series against Zimbabwe, against whom he averages an astonishing 114.75 in ODI cricket.
“Worrying point is again Babar Azam because he is not scoring runs. Against this Zimbabwe team, he had to wait for his turn because first opener and then Azhar Ali played long innings. Babar has to wear his pads and be ready during that time, which is the best and worst part of Test cricket. You have to sit and watch with concentration. and you can’t talk much as well. So, basically, you are in quarantine within a quarantine,” said Shoaib Akhtar.
“Babar should have scored at least 300-400 runs during this series, Sometimes it happens that you can’t score runs, but I’m sure Babar is trying his best. We expect a lot from him, so we should try to stay positive,” the former fast bowler added.