Cricket

Babar Azam defends Pakistan’s batting tactics and middle order but doesn’t rule out changes

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has defended Pakistan’s approach with the bat following their loss to England in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Final at the MCG.

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Babar and his fellow Pakistani batsmen stuttered through the early innings to reach 137/8 in their 20 overs, with only Shan Masood and Shadab Khan scoring at a rate higher than the recognized batsmen’s 130.

“I am very sad. I think we missed 20 runs and we couldn’t defend because of that,” the Pakistan captain said in his post-match press conference.

“We are very proud to play for Pakistan. It’s very sad when you can’t finish it. But I am disappointed.

“We were in a different situation. We were trying to build associations but we couldn’t. Every time a wicket drops, the batsman goes and takes two or three balls to settle down. We came on the back foot as a batting unit.

Babar and his fly-half partner Mohammad Rizwan are among the highest ranked T20I batsmen in the world and have scored a host of runs in recent years for Pakistan.

But the pair have drawn criticism at times due to their safety-first approach during the Powerplay, often scoring relatively slow compared to other top nations and then looking to get the team to use the established platform to speed up in the second half of innings.

The same thing happened in the final, with Babar scoring 32 of 28 and Rizwan 15 of 14. But the pattern says that the tactics are not necessarily wrong.

“It depends on the situation. I think they had three dismissals in the first six overs and we had two. It depends on the situation and the conditions, what is the demand from you and then you plan. Each team has their own plans.” and we stick to our plan.

“Sometimes we are not able to give 100%. We try not to repeat our mistakes. But this is part of the game. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. This is the beauty of cricket. Every day is different.”

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With starters usually being the dominant force in Pakistan’s T20 batting effort, the middle order has struggled to make a good impression in the last two years.

Leaving aside Masood’s 28-ball 38 and Shadab’s fast 20, there were limited contributions from the players in the order in the final.

But, when asked if he was disappointed with the middle order, the captain replied:

“As a team, we win. As a team, we lose. The way we started, we couldn’t finish well. In the 11th, it was 80-85. I think we should have finished at 150. I think he made some mistakes.”

With the next Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in the Caribbean and the United States in two years’ time, teams have an opportunity to make changes after this year’s tournament and build throughout the next 24-month cycle.

But Babar says the Pakistan hierarchy will now turn their attention to the upcoming Test series against England and New Zealand before making personnel decisions in the shortest form of the game.

“It’s too early to decide,” he said.

“We’ll play the tests next and when the T20Is show up again, we’ll decide.”

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