Wednesday, March 22, 2023

‘He needs to look great and talks well’: Shoaib Akhtar needs Pakistan star to supplant Babar Azam as chief

Babar Azam has been leading former world champions Pakistan in all formats of the game since 2020. Under his leadership, Pakistan made it to the final of the T20 World Cup. However, Shoaib Akhtar wants Babar’s teammate to replace him as Pakistan’s next white-ball captain.

Days after courting controversy with his sensational remarks against Babar Azam, legendary Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has backed a star player to replace the premier batter as the white-ball captain of the Green Army. Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar recently guided former champions Pakistan to the final of the ICC World T20 2022. One of the finest batters in world cricket, Babar has been leading former world champions Pakistan in all formats of the game since 2020.

Akhtar, who recently spoke at length about Pakistani players’ inability to communicate well in English, had urged Babar to work on his oratory skills. Akhtar also claimed that Babar has failed to become the biggest brand in Pakistan. Speaking to a Pakistani news channel, the former Pakistani pacer and full-time cricket pundit backed Babar’s teammate to succeed him as the white-ball captain.

Nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express, Akhtar has backed all-rounder Shadab Khan to become the next captain of Pakistan men’s team in the limited-overs format. “Shadab is a very smart kid when it comes to cricket skills. He wants to improve, which is a very good thing. He is ready to accept his mistakes and rectify them. In past two years, he has worked really hard on his bowling and his fitness has improved as well. He wants to look good and speaks well. In times to come, he is not a bad option for captaincy for Pakistan in white-ball cricket,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.

Pakistani all-rounder Shadab is leading the Islamabad United franchise in the 2023 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Shadab also served as Babar’s deputy at the T20 World Cup in Australia last year. The 24-year-old has played 6 Tests, 53 One Day International (ODIs) and 84 T20Is for Pakistan. Shadab made his international debut against West Indies at Kensington Oval in 2017.

Akhtar also asserted that under Shadab’s leadership, Islamabad United can lift the PSL trophy in the 2023 edition of the T20 tournament. “Shadab is a great captain and future of Pakistan cricket. I think Shadab is an aggressive captain with a balanced team, great batting line-up and a great attitude. Shadab and Azhar Mahmood (as coach) are looking great and they can win the PSL 8 trophy,” Akhtar added.

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