"Wasn't satisfied playing one-down for Pakistan": Babar Azam

Sports Wednesday 13/March/2024 10:28 AM
"Wasn't satisfied playing one-down for Pakistan": Babar Azam

Islamabad: Star Pakistan batter Babar Azam revealed that he was not personally not satisfied with his demotion down the order to number three from the opening spot in the national team, saying that he did it for his team.

During the five-match T20I series against New Zealand, Babar was playing as a one-down batter, splitting his acclaimed and highly successful opening pair with wicketkeeper-batter Mohammed Rizwan. Youngster Saim Ayyub was instead, promoted to the opening position. During that series, Babar scored 213 runs at an average of 42.60 and a strike rate of 142, with three fifties and a best score of 66.

Speaking after Peshawar Zalmi's win over Karachi Kings, Babar was quoted as saying by Wisden, "As an opener, there's no pressure of any sort of me, neither do I take any. The [national] team was demanding it [shifting down to No.3]. Whatever I did, I did it for Pakistan. If you ask me individually, I wasn't satisfied playing one-down for Pakistan. But I did it for Pakistan."

He also talked about how the development of youngsters coming in from PSL can be made better, by identifying the right talent, and working on their fitness and skills via the National Cricket Academy (NCA) instead of bringing them straight into the highly skilled, pressurised world of international cricket.

"You first have to identify which youngsters can perform well for Pakistan in the future. But that is not my job. It is the coaches' and PCB's (Pakistan Cricket Board) job to identify players and get them into the NCA to work on their fitness and skills. What we do is we straightaway bring these players into the international level, which is why they struggle."

"Because there is a lot of difference between international and other levels of cricket in terms of handling pressure. And that requires experience. The more you make them play, they better they will develop. Sometimes there are outstanding talents who make you think that they will dominate straight away. Those are different [kinds of] players," he added.

Babar is opening for Peshawar in PSL and is the top run-scorer with 498 runs in nine matches at an average of 62.25 and a strike rate of 148, with a century and five fifties. His best score is 111*. Peshawar is at the top of the points table with six wins and three losses and one match failing to produce a result.