Pakistan’s newly appointed Test captain and one of their modern greats, Babar Azam has not had a great outing with the bat since he took charge and that has disappointed former legendary fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. Azam has registered a couple of low scores in the Test series in Zimbabwe and Akhtar has given his reasons for the poor form of the star Pakistani batsman.
Skipper Azam was dismissed for a golden duck by Donald Tiripano in the first innings of the first Test in Harare before being sent packing for 2 by Blessing Muzarabani in the second Test at the same venue. Azam was in fine form during the T20I series scoring 95 runs in three innings including a fifty but could not replicate that in the longest format.
He has seen his Test fortunes dip since taking over the captaincy for Pakistan. In four matches at the helm, Azam has scored just 124 runs in six innings at a poor average of 20.66 with just one fifty.
Akhtar stated that a possible reason for Azam’s poor form could have been the long wait in the dressing room to go out to bat. The Pakistan openers Imran Butt and Abid Ali put together a century stand in the series opener with Butt again combining with number three Azhar Ali for a fifty run partnership. This meant that Azam had to wait till the 65th over to get his chance with the bat.
It was a similar story in the second Test too where Abid Ali and Azhar Ali combined to put a double century stand for the second-wicket which delayed Azam at number 4 and he only walked out to bat in the 83rd over. Akhtar described Azam’s situation as a quarantine within a quarantine.
“Worrying point is again Babar Azam because he is not scoring runs. Against this Zimbabwe team, he had to wait for his turn because first opener and then Azhar Ali played long innings. Babar has to wear his pads and be ready during that time, which is the best and worst part of Test cricket. You have to sit and watch with concentration. and you can’t talk much as well. So, basically, you are in quarantine within a quarantine,” said Akhtar.
Akhtar added that the Pakistan captain was expected to score heavily in the Test series in Zimbabwe but failed to do so. He however, did not question the fact that Azam was trying his best to perform for Pakistan.
“Babar should have scored at least 300-400 runs during this series, Sometimes it happens that you can’t score runs, but I’m sure Babar is trying his best. We expect a lot from him, so we should try to stay positive,” added Akhtar.