LAHORE: Heavily criticising Babar Azam for not taking right decisions at crucial moments during the ongoing T20 World Cup, former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam reckons Shan Masood may be a better man for national leadership.
“I had already said when they [Pakistan Cricket Board] made him [Babar] captain of the three formats that it is not the right decision. He has no leadership quality,” Intikhab told Dawn on Friday while commenting on Pakistan’s poor performance so far at the World Cup in Australia where the green-shirts lost their first two group-stage matches against arch-rivals India and Zimbabwe.
Babar and his men now lie at a poor fifth position in group 2 just above the lowly Netherlands, and face a lots of ifs and buts on a very tough route to the semi-finals. With no points in the bag, they must win the remaining three group games and also hope a few other results come in their favour.
“It is dangerous for the team to [excessively] depends on the performance of openers Babar and Rizwan; if they fail to perform in a match, the team comes under pressure,” the 80-year-old Intikab said under whose coaching and managership Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup and the 2009 T20 World Cup.
“If you have cricketing sense and scoreboard is in front of you, then you should know how to go ahead; Babar lacks in monitoring the match situation and taking [timely] decisions accordingly,” he remarked.
Intikhab criticised the decision to ask under-pressure spinner Mohammad Nawaz to bowl the last over in the high-profile game against India.
“Primarily, it is the captain who should face the blame for this [wrong call]. He must know who should bowl when,” he emphasised.
On who could replace Babar as skipper, Intikhab picked Shan Masood for the job.
“Shan, I personally feel, has the genes of captaincy at least for ODIs and T20 Internationals,” he opined.
Meanwhile, Intikhab also criticised the PCB for not taking full advantage in the home series against England by not preparing fast pitches.
“Pakistan have been preparing for the World Cup for the last one year testing different [team] combinations. However ignoring the preparations, the PCB made slow and low-bounced pitches for the home series against England, just to beat them,” Intikhab said.
“And don’t tell me that we can’t make fast pitches; we can do it if we want such pitches,” Intikhab asserted.
He said opener Fakhar Zaman and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi were selected to the World Cup squad while they were not fully fit.
“Shaheen [in the World Cup] is not in his true rhythm. Had he been fully fit, he could have completed the second run on the last ball of the match against Zimbabwe whose wicket-keeper could not gather the ball cleanly in the first attempt.
“Pakistan also need nature’s help; none of their remaining group matches should be washed out, which looms large in this World Cup,” he added.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2022