Babar Azam was expected to lead Pakistan to victory in the Twenty20 World Cup, but his team is in danger of leaving the tournament early, and the typically inspirational captain is dealing with mounting criticism of both his batting and management skills.
At the last World Cup, Babar Azam amassed the most runs, advancing his nation to the semifinals where they fell to eventual victors Australia .However, the player who is considered one of the top batsmen in the world has only amassed eight runs in three matches while playing for Australia.
He was dismissed for a first-ball duck in Pakistan’s agonising tournament-opening loss to archrival India on the final ball.The team subsequently suffered a shocking loss to Zimbabwe by one run as the 28-year-old Azam made four more runs.
In their third Super 12 game on Sunday, Pakistan ultimately defeated the Netherlands, but they lost four wickets, including Azam, who was run out while chasing 91.To have any chance of reaching the semifinals, they must win their final two games against South Africa on Thursday in Sydney and pray that other outcomes go their way.
Azam’s troubles in the World Cup have been a reflection of a more general malaise among Pakistani batsmen. In addition to criticising Azam’s opening partner Mohammad Rizwan, former captain Waqar Younis commented, “Even when they score runs, why do we lose? Because of the method they score runs.”
Babar and Rizwan have lower strike rates than several other T20 openers, such as Indian captain Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock of South Africa (136.14 and 127.11, respectively) (140.13).
Prior to Rizwan overtaking Azam during the Asia Cup in September, Azam held the top spot among T20 international cricket batsmen.Although Azam has now dropped to fourth, he continues to lead the ODI rankings.