T20 World Cup 2024: Watch - Babar Azam drops bombshell on Azam Khan and Shadab Khan's selection amid criticism

Published - 31 May 2024, 05:11 PM | Updated - 31 May 2024, 05:15 PM

Azam Khan, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan
Azam Khan, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan. Image Credit: Getty Images/X

Pakistan National Cricket Team’s wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan and star all-rounder Shadab Khan have been facing heat for their poor performances during their team’s 0-2 T20I series loss in England ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and Caribbean.

The current form of Azam and Shadab is the biggest worry for the Men in Green leading up to the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024, where they will open their campaign against the co-host USA on June 6 in Texas.

Babar Azam backs underfire Azam Khan and Shadab Khan

Not only on the England tour, they were out of form on the Ireland tour as well. Speaking about the four-match T20I series, two matches were called off due to rain, and only the second and fourth T20Is were played, and England won both games to seal the home series on May 30.

While Shadab went wicketless in both games and scored three runs, Azam made 11 runs in the second T20I while he was caught out for a duck in the final game at the Oval. Azam Khan, the son of former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, has been trolled heavily for his poor performance not only with the bat but also behind the stumps.

He missed some easy catches and dropped the crucial catches as well, and there is no wonder in that, thanks to his poor fitness level. After their dismal show, former cricketers, fans, and media have been calling to drop Azam and Shadab from the Pakistan team, questioning their selection for the T20 World Cup 2024.

Babar Azam responds to criticism over team selection for T20 World Cup 2024

However, the Pakistan captain Babar Azam defended the selection of Azam and Shadab for the tournament, emphasizing that every player chosen is based on merit and they will keep supporting them. The stylish batter further noted that criticism often arises from the media when a player struggles, leading to questions about their selection.

However, when the same player excels, there are calls for their inclusion in the Pakistan team, so all the stories are cooked in the media houses, and that has nothing to do with their selection and plans for the tournament.

Babar stressed the importance of supporting selected players, saying the decisions are made with confidence in their abilities and they can’t drop them just because of some of their bad days on the field. He has also slammed the media for exaggerating things and making issues of the players’ form.

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"Saare players merit pe aaye hai. Dekhe jab perform nahi hota kisi bhi player se hume aise lagta hai, galat unku selection hui hai. Ye cheeze aap hi karte hai aur aap hi in cheezon ko upar leke aate h. Jab whi banda acchi performance karta toh aap kehte isko team mein kyu nahi daalte," he said.

However, after the T20I series loss to England, Babar slammed his middle-order batters and asked them to step up, as he was expecting a better performance in the T20 World Cup 2024.

The Pakistan skipper said at the post-match presser, “First six overs, we played very well. After that, the momentum shifted as wickets fell. Our middle-order needs to step up. You need 2-3 good overs in the middle and in the death as well. England's bowling was very good. Hopefully, we don't do this in the World Cup.”

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ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Pakistan national cricket team Babar Azam Azam Khan Shadab Khan ENG vs PAK ICC T20 World Cup