Faf du Plessis backs Azam Khan’s selection in Pakistan's T20I team despite criticism of his fitness

He said Azam just need to make sure he is fit enough to run between wickets, score and save runs.

Azam Khan was selected in Pakistan’s T20I squad | PSL

Veteran South African batsman Faf du Plessis, who is supremely fit and well-built cricketer, has backed Azam Khan's selection in the Pakistan team amid the criticism over his fitness levels and weight, saying the six-packs do not equal guaranteed success in cricket.

A controversy erupted after Azam, son of former captain Moin Khan, was selected in Pakistan’s T20I squad for their upcoming tour of England and the West Indies last week with many believing he was selected because of his father, former captain Moin Khan. The youngster was also targeted for having a weight of more than 100kg.

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However, it was Azam's boundary-hitting ability that has brought him to his maiden call up to the Pakistan team for the upcoming tours and the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2021) would be crucial for him to prove his critics wrong. In the PSL, Azam and former South African captain play for Quetta Gladiators.

Following the criticism, Du Plessis, one of cricket's fittest athletes, has come out in support of his Quetta Gladiators teammate, saying Azam doesn't have to look like him or other fitter cricketers to be successful while insisting he doesn’t believe that every guy has to have a six-pack to be a successful cricketer.

However, the Proteas star said Azam has to make sure he can run fast between the wicket and taking all the catches as he needs to just become the best version of him, no matter what the fitness level.

Du Plessis said at a virtual press conference: “When it comes to fitness, every guy has a responsibility to try and improve every day. That looks different for every single person. For me, at an older age, I don't stop thinking about how I can improve myself as a cricketer, how I can improve my fitness, how I can improve my body, how I can improve my mind.”

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The cricketer further noted, “The difference between guys who do it for a very short period and guys who do it for longer, it's just improving, it's smaller gains right throughout your career. For someone like him [Azam], no, he doesn't have to look like me to be successful.

It would just be small improvements every day. Right now, it might be something like fielding he could focus on, getting quicker to the ball, making sure [the] hands are good, taking all the catches, and gradually putting in the work to become a better version of himself, or myself, or someone.”

He concluded, “I'm certainly not a believer that every guy has to have a six-pack to be a successful cricketer. You work with what you have. You look at the greats in the game before, there have been guys long before me and after me and him, who will all look different but had the skillsets to perform.”

(With PTI/ESPNCricinfo Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 08 Jun, 2021

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