Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez asked Babar Azam to leave his comfort zone and bat at three ahead of the Indo-Pak clash on Sunday.
Pakistan won one out of two games in the Group and qualified for the Super-4 round of the ongoing Asia Cup. They will be playing India for the second time in the tournament after suffering a 5 wickets defeat in their last meeting in a last-over thriller during the Group stage.
The Men in green will be hoping for a better outing with the bat as India bowled Pakistan out for a paltry 147 in their last meeting. Their entire batting order failed to fire and Pakistan fell 20-25 runs short which proved to be the difference in the end.
Mohammad Hafeez wants more intent from the Pakistani openers
Hafeez talked about the lack of intent from Pakistan’s Big two in the powerplay. The pair added just 28 runs at a rate of 5.09 per over in the two Group games in the tournament with Babar himself scoring just 10 and 9 on both occasions. Rizwan managed to stay longer than his skipper but has a strike rate of 94.6 in the powerplay after two games.
“This debate has been going on for some time. If we look at their success rate, I think we should stop discussing this till the World Cup. Let them play. The only thing they need to improve is their strike rate and intent,” Hafeez said on PTV Sports.
Mohammad Hafeez wants Babar Azam to bat at No.3
Following the discussion on intent and aggressiveness in Babar and Rizwan’s approach, Hafeez urged Babar to show a “big heart” as a leader and leave his opening spot to give more value to an inexperienced middle-order.
“Fakhar should open. But it can only happen if Babar shows a big heart as a captain and leaves his comfort zone to play at no.3 and emerge as a leader. He should utilize the other player if he thinks he can play better,” Hafeez said.
“There’s no harm in making this decision. But only Babar Azam can take this decision. You and I can’t do that. Having said that, I still feel he has been successful as an opener with Rizwan, the only thing they have to improve is their strike rate and intent,” the former Pakistan all-rounder concluded.
Babar and his men will be in action against India in their first Super-4 fixture of the Asia Cup 2022.
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