Afridi feels Azhar needs to improve with bat Aug 13, 2020

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Afridi feels Azhar needs to improve with bat Aug 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD- Former flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi believed that Pakistani Test Skipper Azhar Ali needed to improve his display with the bat to help the Green-Shirts level the series against England at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

"If you look at Azhar's track record, the consistency in performance hasn't quite been there. When any team loses the captain is criticised. That will always be there. But his own performance is very important. As the captain he is the base," BBC Sport quoted Afridi as saying.

Afridi who scored 11,196 international runs and took 541 wickets in all three formats of the game, expects Pakistan to react strongly against a "world-class England team" in the second Test.

"I'm totally confident Pakistan will always bounce back very well. Our squad is very good. We have experienced management and players, good batsmen and players," he said.

The young pace duo of Naseem Shah, 17, and Shaheen Afridi, 20, impressed for the tourists in the thrilling first Test but Afridi warns that it is too soon to be drawing comparisons with Pakistan greats Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.

"We have high expectation of Naseem and Shaheen. They are young, energetic and highly talented, but if they are to become like Wasim and Waqar then they have to be consistent in their performance and we have to win matches,” he said.

Babar Azam, 25, scored 69 and five as Pakistan lost to England in the first Test of the three-match series. He averages 44.74 from 27 Tests.

"He is very talented, the backbone of the team but needs to score big runs.”

Babar is ranked as the number one batsman in Twenty20s and third in one-day-internationals, but Afridi who retired from playing for Pakistan in 2017 said he has more to do in the longer format of the game.

"If Babar wants to become like Root, Kohli, Australia's Steve Smith or South African AB de Villiers then he needs to convert his fifties into hundreds. They need to just take the pressure which they are under, enjoy the game and give 100%," the 40-year-old said.