Babar Azam, captain of the Pakistani cricket team© AFP
Former Indian cricket team opener Gautam Gambhir was extremely critical of Babar Azam’s captaincy after Pakistan failed to reach the 2023 Asia Cup final on Thursday. The Babar-led side were defeated by Sri Lanka in a last-ball thriller with Charith Asalanka scoring six runs in the last two balls of the encounter. Gambhir was not happy with Babar’s field placements and his use of the Pakistani bowlers during the match and said that with a few adjustments they could have saved many more runs in the field.
“For me also a very ordinary captain. There was a four-hit in Zaman Khan’s mid-on and there were another four-hit in Shaheen Shah Afridi’s mid-on, and both deliveries were slower. If you want to bowl slower bowlers, keep the fielder in the middle at long-off and bring the third man forward. This is an extremely simple captaincy. Imagine if you had 13 more runs in the last over, it would have been difficult for Sri Lanka,” Gambhir said in his analysis on Star Sports.
Kusal Mendis’ 91 and an unbeaten 49 from Charith Asalanka helped Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by two wickets in a last-ball thriller of the Asia Cup to set up a final clash with India.
Chasing a revised DLS target of 252 in the 42-overs-a-side match in Colombo, Sri Lanka needed eight from the final over and reached the target with Asalanka’s winning hit off the last ball at 1.07 local time.
“You let the game drift at a certain point. You wanted to complete your sixth bowler’s quota. It doesn’t work that way. When the partnership between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama developed, you should have brought in your key bowlers and tried to pick up wickets.”
“Pakistan could have won this match only by taking wickets. If Sri Lanka had batted to the end, they could have won sooner than they actually did. I think Babar Azam will have to be a little better in his captaincy as ODI cricket is not like T20 cricket,” Gambhir concluded while talking about the game.
(With AFP inputs)
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