Last Update on: September 15th, 2023 at 02:44 pm
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has criticized Babar Azam‘s captaincy in his team’s loss to Sri Lanka in the Super 4 game of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023. Pakistan crashed out of the continental championship after losing the game by 2 wickets (DLS method).
Pakistan’s hopes of winning the Asia Cup for the third time and first time since 2012 ended in a disappointing manner. The Men in Green had started their campaign in a promising manner before losing two of their three Super 4 games. They suffered a humiliating 228-run defeat against India before going down against Sri Lanka.
Batting first, Pakistan recovered from 130 for 5 to post a competitive total of 252 for 7 in the allotted 50 overs. Mohammad Rizwan starred with the bat for the Babar Azam-led side by scoring an unbeaten 86. Opener Abdullah Shafique (52) and Iftikhar Ahmed (47) also played crucial knocks for the Men in Green.
Just a couple of days ago, India had defended 213 runs in 50 overs against Sri Lanka. However, Pakistan failed to defend 252 in 42 overs. Sri Lanka remained in control right from the first ball and eventually crossed the finishing line on the final ball. The home side did suffer a few setbacks towards the end but held their nerves to cross the line.
Gautam Gambhir criticizes Babar Azam:
Speaking on Star Sports, Gautam Gambhir did not mince his words as he criticized Babar Azam. He called Babar Azam’s captaincy ordinary in the final overs of the match and pointed out the mistakes of the Pakistan captain. Known for speaking his mind, Gautam Gambhir criticized Babar Azam for his poor field placements.
“For me, extremely ordinary captaincy as well. There was a four hit in Zaman Khan’s over mid-off and there was another four hit in Shaheen Shah Afridi’s over over mid-off, and both those deliveries were slower ones,” said Gautam Gambhir.
“If you want to bowl slower ones, keep the mid-off fielder at long-off and bring the third man up. This is extremely simple captaincy. Imagine if you had 13 runs left in the last over, it would have been difficult for Sri Lanka,” he added.
Speaking further, Gautam Gambhir questioned Babar Azam’s tactics when Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama were batting. The duo shared 100 runs for the third wicket to put Sri Lanka in the driver’s seat. The former cricketer stated that Babar Azam allowed the game to drift in order to complete his sixth bowler’s quota.
“You were allowing the game to drift at one stage. You wanted to complete your sixth bowler’s quota. It doesn’t work out like that. When the partnership was developing between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama, you should have brought on your main bowlers and tried to pick up wickets,” said the World Cup winner.
“Pakistan could have won this game only by taking wickets. If Sri Lanka had batted till the end, they could have won earlier than they actually did. I feel Babar Azam will have to be slightly better in his captaincy as ODI cricket is not like T20 cricket,” he added.
The win has sealed a spot in the final for Sri Lanka. The Islanders will lock horns against India in the title decider on Sunday (September 17) at the R. Premadasa Stadium.