Shahid Afridi, a former captain of Pakistan, harshly criticised Babar Azam’s game plan and advised him to get out of his regular frame of mind. Babar, in the opinion of Afridi, should prepare ahead while deciding what goals to establish for the opposition. A T20 Tri-series between Pakistan, New Zealand, and Bangladesh is now taking place in Christchurch.
The tri-series match between Pakistan and Bangladesh was preceded by statements made by Babar, to which 42-year-old Afridi responded. Azam had previously mentioned that he was thinking of setting Bangladesh a 160-run goal. The seasoned all-rounder questioned Babar’s grandiose goals and counselled him to shed this commonplace outlook. “Babar must come out of this average mindset and think big. If scoring 160 runs for the target against Bangladesh was his big intent, then what is he going to do against stronger teams,” said Afridi. Mohammad Rizwan, the No. 1 T20I batter according to the most recent ICC rankings, who is a Pakistan opener, wicketkeeper, and hitter, was also the subject of Afridi’s analysis of his play. Recently, Rizwan has also come under fire for playing slowly. Although the opening used to score frequently, he received criticism for not moving quickly enough.
Pakistan won the game against Bangladesh by 21 runs since Bangladesh could only muster 146 runs in response to their 167. Mohammad Rizwan, whose strike rate was questioned during the Asia Cup, was also addressed by Afridi. Afridi backed the effective wicket-keeper batter, saying that Rizwan should focus on scoring runs rather than paying attention to detractors. “The actual thing is the beginning. Babar and Rizwan should score the chunk of runs [for other batters]. Rizwan shouldn’t listen to anyone,” Afridi added. Rizwan and Babar, Pakistan’s opening combination, have previously come under fire for not getting the team off to quick starts, but many thought it was because Pakistan’s middle order was more brittle. Pakistan has advanced to the tri-series finals and will play New Zealand in the summit match.