Skipper Babar Azam faces strong criticism over his captaincy skills
Pakistani skipper Babar Azam is facing strong criticism across the board over his poor captaincy in the Asia Cup matches. Ramiz Raja had earlier criticised him over his decision making and social media is also abuzz with his capabilities as a captain.
Now Gautam Gambhir, the former cricketer from India, expressed his strong dissatisfaction with Pakistan's captain, Babar Azam, in the aftermath of Pakistan's exit from the Asia Cup 2023. The tournament saw Pakistan's elimination after a heart-wrenching two-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in what was essentially a virtual semi-final match during the Super Four stage.
Babar Azam's leadership was heavily criticized, as he was blamed for adopting a seemingly passive approach, making erroneous bowling decisions, and questionable fielding placements during this pivotal encounter.
In a candid interview, Gautam Gambhir, who has been a vocal critic of Babar Azam's captaincy, did not mince words. He chastised the prolific batter for his handling of the team and suggested that he should have applied more pressure by introducing bowlers capable of taking wickets.
Gambhir pointed out a crucial moment when he said, "You were allowing the game to drift at one stage." He argued that Babar Azam should have utilized his primary bowlers when the partnership between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama was flourishing, with the objective of disrupting their rhythm and securing vital wickets.
Gambhir emphasized that, in his view, the only way Pakistan could have won that match was by taking wickets consistently. He stressed the difference between ODI cricket and T20 cricket, suggesting that Babar Azam needed to adapt his captaincy skills accordingly.
Furthermore, he highlighted a specific aspect of field placement, explaining that Babar should have adjusted the field positions when bowlers like Zaman Khan and Shaheen Afridi altered the pace of their deliveries. According to Gambhir, such simple tactical adjustments could have made a significant impact on the outcome of the match, especially during a close contest like that.
In summary, Gautam Gambhir's critique of Babar Azam's leadership in the Asia Cup 2023 centered on the perceived shortcomings in decision-making, field placements, and the failure to prioritize taking wickets.
As a former cricketer with a wealth of experience, his insights shed light on the intricacies of captaincy in the one-day format and underscored the need for adaptability and strategic thinking in high-stakes matches like the one Pakistan faced against Sri Lanka.