Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was asked by a journalist what should Babar Azam do after he was criticized for his dismissal against the Netherlands in the first ODI between the two sides.
Azam, along with Fakhar Zaman and Naseem Shah helped the Men in Green beat the hosts in a closely fought encounter by just 16 runs.
Captain Babar hit 74 off 85 deliveries, Fakhar scored a century (109) and a 168-run partnership between both the batters saw Pakistan end with 314/6 in the match. The Netherlands scored 298/8 in reply. Naseem Shah picked 3/51, while Haris Rauf took 3/67 for Pakistan.
Speaking about the performance, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has said that he was disappointed with the way Babar got out and that he expected him to go on and score a century. Azam was caught at mid-off by Tom Cooper as he went for a lofted shot against Logan van Beek.
“Ball keeps swinging there. Babar and Fakhar played outstanding innings. But I rate Babar highly, so I think it was a good opportunity for him to score a hundred. There was no need to play a shot like that. Fakhar was playing with him. I liked his innings too,” Afridi said on Samaa TV.
Replying to his response, the anchor asked what Babar should do since people criticized him for being selfish if he plays slow.
“I think even Babar would be upset with this - ‘if I play slow, people would say "he is playing a selfish inning." If I play fast, people would say “he could have scored a hundred”.’ What should he do then?" Afridi was asked.
To this Afridi said that Babar should not pay heed to external noise and focus on bettering his own game.
“I don't think Babar needs to take pressure over these things. He doesn't need to bother himself with what other people are saying. His performance speaks for himself. And he is playing brilliantly. I just said that when Fakhar is playing like that, you don't need to take chances. I only wanted him to score a hundred,” said Afridi.
The second ODI between Netherlands and Pakistan will be played on August 18 with the Babar Azam-led side looking to pocket the series.