Last Update on: January 12th, 2023 at 03:30 pm
Babar Azam and company recently were lambasted by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja after they were defeated by New Zealand in the second One-Day International (ODI) on January 11 in Karachi.
Ramiz Raja noted that the openers struggled under pressure, and vice-captain Shan Masood was once again benched. Despite being designated as Babar Azam’s replacement for the series in the unavailability of the ailing all-rounder Shadab Khan, the opening batsman was not included in the starting lineup for back-to-back games.
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Ramiz Raja Feels Pakistani Team Is Under Pressure
Despite Pakistan’s 79-run defeat, Raja supported the under-fire Babar and Mohammad Rizwan. Pakistan was knocked out for 182 runs while chasing 262. Ramiz Raja stated on his YouTube channel:
“When the vice-captain is benched, especially when he is the opener, it puts the openers under pressure. Similarly, Rizwan has been under pressure. He has to prove himself every time. He dropped a catch because of that pressure.”
“Similarly, Babar Azam is always under pressure to score runs every time. So, let this team relax. They have been outstanding in white-ball cricket.”
Masood is expected to be selected ahead of Imam-ul-Haq in the playing XI for the series finale on Friday, January 13, despite the opener scoring 11 and six runs in the first and second one-day internationals, respectively.
Ramiz Raja Emphasises On Pakistani Batter’s Struggle Against Spin
As the hosts lost five wickets to spinners in the second ODI, Ramiz Raja again emphasised Pakistan’s hitters’ difficulties against them. Mitchell Santner, Michael Bracewell, and Glenn Phillips each managed one wicket, while Ish Sodhi claimed two.
“They struggled against spin,” the former cricketer said. “There was no partnership. Under those circumstances, Babar Azam batted well. This wasn’t the pitch where you could’ve easily hit boundaries. The wicket continued to fall on the other end.”
Babar Azam, Mohammed Rizwan, and Fakhar Zaman each scored half-century to help Pakistan win the first ODI by six wickets.
The two countries will square off in the series finale on Friday, January 13, at Karachi’s National Stadium with the series level at one apiece. It’s important to note that Pakistan has never suffered a home loss in a bilateral ODI series versus New Zealand.