“What do Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and others do…”: Shahid Afridi Questioned Babar Azam’s Abilities In Ongoing ODI World Cup 2023

Babar Azam, a name synonymous with elegant stroke play and consistency in the cricketing world, was under the microscope during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The scrutiny extended beyond his captaincy; it encompassed his role as a top-order batsman.

Azam’s campaign in the World Cup began with scores of 5 and 10 against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, respectively. While Pakistan secured victories in both matches, Azam’s performance left much to be desired. His struggles with the bat raised questions about his form and adaptability to different conditions.

In the subsequent four matches, he provided a glimmer of hope for Pakistan by scoring three half-centuries. The elegance of his strokes and the ease with which he compiled runs were reminiscent of his best performances.

Then came the crucial match against Bangladesh on October 31. In a game where Pakistan desperately needed a win to stay in contention for the World Cup, Babar Azam struggled with the bat, scoring just 15 runs. But Pakistan emerged victorious, primarily thanks to their bowlers. This win, despite Azam’s subpar performance, ignited a debate about his role in the team.

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir and several other cricket experts offered their insights into Babar Azam’s situation. They emphasized his need to focus on playing for the team’s cause rather than chasing personal milestones. 

Shahid Afridi, a legendary figure in Pakistan cricket, didn’t mince words when expressing his concerns about Babar Azam’s ability to win matches. He highlighted the stark contrast between Azam and Indian stars like Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, who not only score runs consistently but also play pivotal roles in guiding their teams to victories.

Afridi believes scoring 50-100 runs is one thing, but ensuring those runs contribute to victory is entirely different. He pointed out the contradiction between the immense admiration for Babar Azam and the feeling that he rarely single-handedly wins matches for Pakistan.

“Scoring 50-100 runs is different, and winning the match with Babar Azam’s scores is something else. What do Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and others do? They score runs, and they lead their teams to victory. There’s a huge craze for Babar among the fans, and I am a fan myself,” said Shahid Afridi.

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Shahid Afridi’s critique underscores a fundamental aspect of cricket – winning games. While individual milestones are celebrated, the ultimate aim is to lead the team to victory. The essence of this perspective is that runs should not only be accumulated but transformed into match-winning performances.

“But sometimes it becomes difficult to explain to people what you want from the player. You say Babar Azam is a great player. People do reach that level, but they also need to maintain it. When he goes out, it feels like Babar Azam is going to score 50-60 runs, not that he’s going to win the match for us. We don’t get that feeling from him,” he added.

Reaching a certain level of performance is undoubtedly commendable, but maintaining that level consistently is the true challenge. Shahid Afridi asserts that Azam must prove not only his potential but also his ability to influence match outcomes.

Babar Azam’s role in the Pakistan cricket team is pivotal. As the captain and a premier batsman, his performances significantly impact the team’s fortunes, whether he can evolve into a match-winner who consistently guides Pakistan to victories.

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