Pakistan announced the 15-man squad on Thursday for the T20 World Cup, which will begin in October. The Pakistan Cricket Board made minor changes to the Asia Cup squad. Babar Azam will be the team, and Shadab Khan will be his deputy.
Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was disappointed with the team selection, saying they failed to address the middle-order issues exposed in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2022.
‘Don’t Think He Is Cut Out For The Job’- Shoaib Akhtar
Apart from the middle-order concerns, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ also questioned Babar Azam’s batting and captaincy after the Asia Cup failure. Despite reaching the semi-finals of last year’s T20 World Cup and the final of the Asia Cup 2022 led by Babar, his captaincy in important matches has come under scrutiny.
“I don’t think the captain is cut out for the job in this format. He is looking for classic drives to rediscover his touch instead of trying to play close to the body. He just wants to look classic. What kind of method is this to find form?” Akhtar questioned.
“Babar made one mistake. He should have had Nawaz bowl the 13th or 14th over. It was too late. You can’t have a spinner in T20s bowling in the last 3 to 4 overs, especially against the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya,” Akram had said on Star Sports.
Babar Azam, who has been in top form across all three formats in recent years, had a disastrous Asia Cup campaign in the UAE, scoring only 68 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 107.93, including a duck against Afghanistan. Due to his poor performance, he lost the top spot in the T20I rankings to his teammate and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan.
In the recently concluded Asia Cup, the Pakistan team reached the final after defeating India and Afghanistan. But in the final match against Sri Lanka, the Men in Green struggled with the bat and failed to chase the target. Apart from opener Rizwan, no other batsman was able to score.
The Pakistan skipper will be hoping to regain his form and hone his captaincy skills as the Babar-led team host England in seven Twenty20 internationals starting on Tuesday, September 20. The main focus will be on Pakistan’s middle order.