Pakistan’s exit from the 2023 Asia Cup would come as a surprise to many, with Babar Azam and Co being looked as favorites to go all the way when the tournament commenced last month.
A defeat against Sri Lanka in their final Super 4 fixture ended their campaign as Dasun Shanaka’s men finalized their place in the final against Sri Lanka. Post their exit from the competition though, the dressing room dynamics have been under the scanner. Reports of possible strains between Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and the rest of the players have raised doubts over Pakistan’s chances as contenders in the upcoming ODI World Cup in India.
Former Pakistan keeper Moin Khan would weigh in on the issue recently. “It’s good that such matters have come out before the big tournament. So that, you can rectify and improve conduct. This will develop unity. The issues should not happen during matches. This does not send a good vibe that such reports are coming out in the media about fight, argument in the dressing room,” Khan told Geo TV.
“The handling has not been right. If somebody has an issue with Babar or if he is not handling the issue in the right manner in the absence of the head coach or director of cricket, who is not with the team it very unfortunate. It’s their job to intervene to handle such situation,” he added.
Recollecting visuals from after the Sri Lanka game on Thursday, Khan expressed dismay over the team chemistry owing to the reaction of the players.
“We saw in the entire tournament, I’ve commented about it earlier as well… no player walked towards Babar. Neither Rizwan came to him, nor even the vice-captain was coming to him. No one was going to him. It felt everyone was scattered, there was no unity,” said Moin.
To add to their misery, Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign would leave them handicapped in the pace bowling department. Haris Rauf, who’d nabbed nine wickets in his first three outings at the tournament, was ruled out owing to a side strain.
Meanwhile Naseem Shah, who’d miss out on Pakistan’s last Super 4 game, may miss out on the upcoming World Cup owing to a right shoulder injury.
When quizzed about Pakistan’s contingency plans in case both the pacers, who make for the power packed trio with Shaheen Shah Afridi, miss out the upcoming tournament, skipper Babar Azam remained optimistic.
“Not telling you our Plan B now. But yes, Haris Rauf is not bad. He’s just got a little bit of a side strain, but he’s recovering before the World Cup,” Babar said.
“Naseem Shah also… they have a couple of miss matches, I don’t know (how long) the recovery, but in my opinion, Naseem Shah also (will be) in the World Cup later on. But let’s see,” he added.