“MS Dhoni changed India’s cricket”- Mohammad Amir says Babar Azam’s mindset hurting Pakistan cricket

Amir also talked about how England changed their mindset after 2015 World Cup debacle.

Babar Azam's captaincy is under fire after CWC 2023 debacle | GettyFormer Pakistan speedster Mohammad Amir has slammed captain Babar Azam and his captaincy, saying that it is hurting the Men in Green cricket team. He also compared Babar’s leadership to that of legendary MS Dhoni.

Amir’s words come after Pakistan failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2023 and finished 5th on the points table. Pakistan had started well by winning their first two matches in Hyderabad.

But then they lost four consecutive matches to India, Australia, and South Africa and were stunned by Afghanistan as well. In the end, it all came down to the net run rate and results of other games. But the Men in Green finished with 4 wins in 9 matches and 8 points.

Amir said that Babar’s defensive mindset hurt the Pakistan side and also slammed former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja for saying that the system needs to be changed and backed Babar to continue as captain.

CWC 2023: “You cannot make him scapegoat,” Wasim Akram defends Babar Azam amid severe criticism

Captaincy does matter. What is the system? It is not a wall. Five and six people have been given the responsibility to run Pakistan cricket. A captain is also one of them.

In 1992 under Imran Khan, we won the World Cup, and the system was the same. In 1999 our team was a world-beater, who reached the finals. We won the 2009 T20 World Cup with the same system, we won the 2017 Champions Trophy under the same system,” Amir said on a show ‘Haarana Mana Hay‘ on Geo news.   

Amir gave the example of England and Jos Buttler and explained why despite being an awful campaign, they don’t need to change the system.

Babar has been captain for the past four years. He has built his team on his own. Buttler is not part of our system, so why did England play so badly? Does the system in England also need a makeover? After the 2015 debacle, Morgan said I want to play this brand of cricket, I want these 25 players. The system remained the same, it was the captain, who changed his mindset.

England were struggling in Test cricket for two years. Joe Root was the captain. The system is the same but we say England’s Test cricket has changed. It was Ben Stokes, who changed his approach. As long as the captain’s mindset does not change, the system can do nothing. Was it the system, who told him not to play Abrar Ahmad, or bench Fakhar after the first match,” said Amir.

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Amir gave an example of the 2009 T20 World Cup when the then-Pakistan captain Younis Khan fought for him during the selection. He also recalled how Sarfaraz Ahmed played him over Rumman Raees in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India.  

I was not getting picked. Captain Younis Khan fought for me. The chief selector said no he was young and inexperienced, but the captain kept fighting for me. I missed the semifinal (Champions Trophy 2017) due to a back spasm. Rumman Raees played and did well. In the final, Saifi bhai said no Amir is our main bowler, he is fit and he will play the final,” said Amir.

He further said that the Pakistan team was a good T20 unit, but not suited for ODIs.

Amir then gave the example of how MS Dhoni, as captain of the Indian team, backed Ravindra Jadeja, who has gone on to become a world-class spinner.

We say Dhoni changed India’s cricket, but he never changed the system. People kept saying that for how long he kept giving Jadeja and Ashwin chances. And now we say Jadeja is the World’s best all-rounder. MS Dhoni has given them the team,” said Amir.

Pakistan’s next assignment will be a three-Test tour to Australia in December-January.


By Jatin Sharma - 13 Nov, 2023

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