Babar Azam’s Pakistan has been facing flak for losing to Zimbabwe in their second Super 12 tie at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. On Thursday, the men in green fell 1 run short while chasing a lowly 130-run target. Pakistan were restricted to 129/8 and the defeat allowed the former cricketers and fans to take digs at the team.
A lot was spoken about Pakistan’s top-order. But ever since Babar and Rizwan started to open for the country, the discussions were brushed under the shrugs. However, the showpiece event in Australia has reignited the debate. Reason being the Pakistan captain hasn’t been in the best of form and struggling to forge good partnerships with Rizwan which has led to unsatisfactory results in the tournament so far.
The experts have suggested separating this pair and bringing back Fakhar Zaman to open the innings but Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja decided to continue with the Babar-Rizwan duo. But the current circumstances seem to be forcing the Pakistan team management to change their strategy.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir made serious remarks over former coach Misbah-ul-Haq, holding him responsible for ending Fakhar’s place as an opener. In a conversation with 24 News HD, Amir said,
“Yeh openers wala start huya tha jab Misbah bhai the, Rizwan ko uthake open karwa di thi aur Fakhar jaisa banda, jo iss time pe Pakistan ka best T20 opener hai, uspe churi pheri. (All this started when Misbah made Rizwan open the innings and a guy like Fakhar Zaman, who’s the best T20 opener at the moment, got sidelined).
Amir further cited the examples of England’s Liam Livingstone and South Africa’s Aiden Markram, stating that they came out of their comfort zones and performed in different positions.
“You see, Livingstone has been an opener in domestic cricket but the English team wanted him at the middle-order. He managed because he is a good player and now see, how long he smashed the ball. The same was the case with [Aiden] Markram who was an opener but performing so well at No. 4,” Amir added.
The former left-hand pacer further lashed out at Rizwan and Babar for not leaving their comfort zones, which is eventually causing problems for the team.
“A good player performs in every situation. They simply made Fakhar the scapegoat. Both openers (Babar & Rizwan) are limited to the top order and are not ready to come out of their comfort zones,” said Amir.