Babar Azam has done well as Pakistan’s captain across formats. Under him, Babar-led Men in Green reached the semi-finals of the 2021 T20 World Cup and the Asia Cup final. However, a big title still eludes skipper Babar. He will be hoping to turn things for his national side by taking them to the coveted title in the forthcoming 2022 T20 WC, to be held in Australia from October-November.
After Pakistan’s Asia Cup final loss to Sri Lanka by 23 runs, in Dubai, many slammed Babar for not using his bowlers smartly in the summit clash. His own failures with the bat — where he amassed only 68 runs in five outings in the continental tournament — hasn’t helped his cause. Now, veteran keeper-batter Kamran Akmal has revealed that he had advised Babar to not take up Pakistan captaincy.
Akmal revealed on a YouTube show, as quoted by Hindustan times, “During a T20I in Faisalabad when Babar was walking out for the toss, I got to know that he is being made captain. That is when I told him… ‘I don’t think now is the right time for you to become captain. Give your best performances in the next 2-3 years. The batting line-up is depended on you. Reach Virat Kohli’s level first, Steve Smith’s level. By then, you would have scored 35-40 centuries and enjoy captaincy. The moment Sarfaraz leaves, you will be next in line. But now is the right time. I told him back in the day but it was his decision. Those who were close to him, must have spoken to him and advised him to take up captaincy.”
Babar was appointed as Pakistan’s T20I in late 2019 before being given the post in ODIs early next year. Later in the same year, he was promoted as the full-time captain. Kamran, however, added that he believes that Pakistan cricket will move backwards if they remove Babar from the captaincy post.
“I had also told him to only concentrate on his batting. He was scoring runs and would have continued to do so. The flow was beautiful. People enjoyed watching him bat. With captaincy, there will be pressure, which will affect his batting, his approach. And somewhere, that is visible now. But at the same time removing him as captain right now would be a big blunder on the part of the team management. Pakistan cricket will go back,” added the veteran.