Shahid Afridi calls on Babar Azam to move down the order

Published November 7, 2022
This combination of photos shows ex-captain Shahid Afridi and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam. — Pictures via Reuters
This combination of photos shows ex-captain Shahid Afridi and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam. — Pictures via Reuters

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam should stand aside and give Mohammad Haris his opener slot to boost their top order firepower in Wednesday’s Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, former captain Shahid Afridi said.

Pakistan, the 2009 champions, looked set to exit the competition until the Netherlands pulled off a major upset by beating South Africa on Sunday.

Mohammad Rizwan and Babar went into the tournament ranked as the top two T20 batters but neither has managed a fifty in the tournament so far.

Rizwan has scored at a run-a-ball rate while Babar, Pakistan’s premier batsman, has a strike rate of 61.90.

Both will have to up their game against last year’s runners-up New Zealand in the first semi-final in Sydney. India play England in the second semi in Adelaide on Thursday.

“Babar Azam needs to listen to suggestions,” former all-rounder Afridi told Samaa TV.

“We need to use Mohammad Haris with fielding restrictions. Babar Azam should drop to number three.”

Afridi said Pakistan’s top order should play with more intent and be as aggressive as middle order batters Iftikhar Ahmed and Shan Masood.

“You look at Iftikhar or Shan Masood and you can see their intention in their body language, that they are looking to hit the ball. We need that kind of intention, that kind of cricket.

“What’s the point of scoring a run-a-ball 30 or 35 if you can’t finish the game having used up that many deliveries?” the 42-year-old added.

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