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Pak vs NZ: Babar Azam should be called back immediately from New Zealand, urges Sarfraz Nawaz

KARACHI: Former Pakistan cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to call back Babar Azam immediately who was ruled out of the T20I series against New Zealand after sustaining an injury.

The star batsman is also doubtful for the first Test against the Kiwis.

Sarfaraz Nawaz, who is currently in London, told The News it was a risky affair to expose Babar who is down with a thumb fracture.

“He should be called back immediately from New Zealand and allowed to take proper rest for the forthcoming home series against South Africa. Risking his injury would be dangerous even in the second Test.”

The former cricketer said that he has seen many players who were exposed to competitive cricket prematurely and added, “you need at least one month to recover fully”.

“Complete healing is the main requirement for a high-level competition. Babar is a valuable asset for the national team so proper handling of his injury is need of the hour.”

Sarfraz added that unnecessary haste in fielding Babar against Kiwis could lead to dangerous consequences for Pakistan.

“Pakistan needs Babar for important series ahead so there is a need to allow him proper rest rather exposing him prematurely on bouncy New Zealand tracks where his injury may get even worse in case he gets a hit again.”

Why did Pakistan lose T20 series?

Regarding the T20 series loss against New Zealand, Sarfraz said he was surprised to see youngsters’ inability to handle bounce on the pitch.

“After having played on low-bounce tracks in Pakistan, they were not in the know how to handle bounce on such tracks. I have played in New Zealand many times so I know that a batsman requires a proper technique to handle such bounce.”

The former pacer was of the view that Pakistan youngsters are talented but they did not have learnt specific techniques of playing on such surface.

“New batsmen require proper grooming for such conditions. I think no effort was made to make them realise that they would be facing totally different conditions in New Zealand. The team management should have exposed them to such pitches for at least two weeks before starting the tour.”

He said the youngsters had no idea about playing powerplay overs in T20s. “Losing wickets in powerplay overs is no wisdom. Wickets in hand give you a good platform to launch attacks during rest of the overs. Pakistan batsmen mishandled the innings twice, resulting in two losses.”

Sarfraz also advised the bowlers to understand how Tim Southee exploited the conditions. “He always used the conditions perfectly as in the second T20, his ability to exploit Pakistan batsmen’s weaknesses was worth watching.”

“Every country has different conditions and wickets so it is the duty of team management and coaching staff to prepare fresh faces for such conditions.”

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