Pakistan Captain Babar Azam.
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam. Image Credit: X

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has questioned the current Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s ability of handling pressure during the crunch situations and high voltage games likes India-Pakistan clashes. In a marquee league tournament, it’s always vital how the captain responds in tough situations.

In 144 games Babar Azam has led the Men in Green, he has a win percentage of almost 57, as something under pressure, one can sense the Pakistan captain getting drilled under pressure.

It was the last edition of the T20 World Cup 2022, in Australia when Pakistan were up against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). They kept India under pressure from the beginning of the game in the 160-run defense, with early wickets but couldn’t hold their nerves as questions were raised on Babar throwing the last over to left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.

‘Babar Azam has to learn to carry pressure’ – Rashid Latif

Pakistan are coming into this ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA) on the back of their 2-0 series defeat against England, as they were blown away the home side in all the three departments, especially the batting.

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Rashid Latif has questioned Babar Azam’s leadership skills in all three formats, after their struggling 2023 ODI World Cup campaign. Even after that dismal competition, the Pakistan Cricket Board brought him back to the captaincy position, after the New Zealand tour at the start of this year.

“The focus is on the game on June 9 against India. Babar Azam (Pakistan captain) will be under a lot of pressure because of the game against India rather than performing in the World Cup,” Latif said during an interview with the PTI.

The likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, both of whom have been pillars for India in the intense games like the finals or during the Indi-Pakistan clashes always take the pressure, and Rashid feels that Babar should look to take lessons from them.

‘But he has to learn to carry pressure, he should learn that from Virat and Rohit. They know how to carry the game. As a batter Babar is one of the best but as a captain and leader, there’s a lot that he needs to learn,” Former Pakistan captain remarked.

Even under being fire for the captaincy issues, Babar has been quite good in his record, as he has led the side to the semifinal against Australia during the T20 World Cup 2021, and made them runners-up against England in the eighth edition of the competition.

The 55-year-old feels that even though the batter has been great in his own form, he quite often lacks the support from the other players in the team, which Virat Kohli enjoys quite a lot.

In 320 innings, Babar Azam has collected around 13000 runs in International cricket, shouldering on 31 centuries and 94 fifties, which is quite good.

‘Babar Azam is a great player but doesn’t have a lot of players to support him. Virat definitely has an advantage because the players are around him. But Pakistan lacks that cushion. Babar only has Rizwan and occasionally, the support of Fakhar Zaman. Babar’s quality is way above his teammates and I think this acts as a disadvantage for him,” Former Pakistan batter elaborated.

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‘The Pakistan team plays well in the ICC tournaments but the team doesn’t look as prepared as they were in 2021 and 2022. The damage happened after the last ODI World Cup with changes in captaincy, the selection committee, and players.  The team doesn’t know who their openers will be and what they have tried has failed miserably,” He concluded.

Pakistan will open their campaign against USA on June 06, at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.