Pakistan had faced a disappointing exit in the 2023 Asia Cup last week when they faced a mammoth 228-run defeat to arch-rivals India before losing narrowly to Sri Lanka in the Super 4 stage. To make the matters worse, it was reported by many Pakistan media outlets that the side’s captain Babar Azam had a dressing room argument with leading pacer Shaheen Afridi; however, the latter called Babar ‘family’ in a post on social media platform ‘X’ on Tuesday, seemingly attempting to dispel the rumours.
Regardless, Pakistan’s exit from the Asia Cup saw Babar’s captaincy being criticised; many former cricketers have lashed out at the Pakistan skipper for some of his decisions throughout the tournament. While former captain Shahid Afridi urged Babar to be brave in his decisions, Gautam Gambhir had expressed his bafflement over the skipper’s defensive approach during the final overs of Sri Lankan run-chase in the Super 4 clash.
Amid the fierce criticism, though, Babar has now received a strong backing from one of the side’s legendary former batters, Javed Miandad. The batting great insisted that it would be unfair to have Babar take all the blame for the side’s defeat in the continental tournament this year.
“Why blame Babar Azam only when the rest of the team didn’t perform as well in the Asia Cup matches against India and Sri Lanka,” Miandad said on the sidelines of 40s Global Cricket Event, as quoted by India Today.
Miandad further stated that Pakistan players need to adjust to the conditions in India quickly, as the side prepares for the 2023 World Cup. He also said that the cricketers might “encounter hostility” in India.
“Look our team is not as bad as it played in the Asia Cup. It has plenty of potential to do well in the World Cup. The only thing is how quickly our players cope and adjust to playing in Indian conditions before big crowds and in a country where they will encounter some hostility,” Miandad said.
“The sooner this suspense about the final squad is ended the better it is for us in the mega-event,” he added.
Grappling with injuries
Ahead of the marquee tournament, Pakistan are grappling with injuries to two of their main players – Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf. Both pacers endured injuries during the side’s game against India in Asia Cup Super 4 match in Colombo.
Additionally, Imam ul Haq had also missed the side’s must-win match against Sri Lanka in the same tournament due to an injury.