by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Following Pakistan’s inability to defend a 283-run target against Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup match in Chennai, notable figures Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik raised questions over Babar Azam’s captaincy decisions.
Misbah, voicing his concern, pinpointed how Babar’s decisions have impacted the confidence of bowler Haris Rauf, especially during the powerplay. “We’ve noticed that Haris struggles early on, often conceding up to 20 runs in the initial overs. It’s evident that his confidence is shaken.
We discussed how teams like New Zealand strategically introduce bowlers like Mitchell Santner a bit later. It’s an assertive move since batsmen usually risk more during the end of the powerplay,” Misbah remarked.
He added, “If Babar could have introduced Haris after the powerplay, it might’ve bolstered his confidence. Currently, after getting hit for boundaries early on, Haris seems mentally out for the rest of the game. Considering Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran’s prowess against pace, introducing spin earlier might have been a game-changer.”
Jumping into the conversation, Malik stressed the struggles of the spin department and the lack of creativity from the captain’s side. “Pardon my interruption, Misbah! Our spinners are facing challenges, and Babar needs to think differently. We have Saud Shakeel; why isn’t he getting a chance to bowl?”
Misbah nodded in agreement, recalling instances where Babar preferred off-spinner Iftikhar over Saud, despite the latter’s potentially advantageous left-arm spin. “I remember Saud’s commendable performance against England. Yes, he was hit by Harry Brook once, but one spell shouldn’t overshadow his potential for future games,” Misbah concluded.