So close yet so far away. This adage was completely true in the case of Team Pakistan, which failed to defeat Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2022 championship match. Pakistan performed admirably at the Super 4 stage but fell to Sri Lanka in the championship game by a score of 23 runs. Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, and Shadab Khan, who excelled with the ball during the competition, were Pakistan’s heroes. On the other hand, Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam himself was their biggest letdown, scoring only 68 runs in six games. Fans and cricket analysts alike have been harshly criticising Babar for his poor performance.
Mahela Jayawardena, a former captain of Sri Lanka, came out in defence of Babar, saying Pakistan shouldn’t place undue pressure on the captain since it might impair his performance at the 2017 World Cup. “When you have a quality player like that, try and not put pressure on him. I’m sure there would have been a lot of discussion about his form in the Asia Cup and all that. But leading into the World Cup, you want your best player to be confident and relaxed, going into the World Cup,” Jayawardena said on ICC Review.
“So as long as they are not putting undue pressure on him, that’s the important thing. Being the captain and being the best batsman in your team, it is not an easy task. That’s something that he has to live up to. Going into a World Cup, forget about his captaincy and all that, be the batsman that he can be, and then be the captain that he needs to be out there on the field,” he added. In preparation for a seven-match T20I series against England at home, Pakistan is now preparing. On September 20, this historical television series will debut. After this series, Team Pakistan will compete against New Zealand and Bangladesh in a Tri-Series in New Zealand.