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

Babar has come under the scanner as Pakistan failed to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.

Babar Azam | GettyPakistan cricket team entered into the World Cup 2023 with a lot of expectations but it turned out to be a disastrous campaign for them.

The Men in Green failed to qualify for the semi-finals as they managed to register only four wins out of their nine league games.

On Saturday (November 11), Pakistan bowed out of the showpiece tournament with a crushing 93-run defeat at the hands of England in Kolkata.

After this dismal show, Pakistani cricketers are receiving flak from all quarters. In particular, skipper Babar Azam is facing the wrath of the fans, former players and cricket experts alike.

Babar came into the marquee event as a No. 1 ODI batter but couldn’t do justice with his numero uno tag. In nine innings, the right-hander amassed 320 runs at an average of 40 and a strike rate of 82.90.

Amid the scrutiny, Pakistan legend Wasim Akram has blasted Babar's critics and blamed the faulty cricket system behind the team’s poor performance in this World Cup.

"The captain alone is not playing the game. Yes he did make captaincy errors in this World Cup and in Asia Cup as well. But he isn't alone to blame. This is a fault of the entire system for the last one year or more where the players don't know who is the coach. You cannot make him the scapegoat here," Akram said on A Sports.

However, Akram admitted that the pressure of captaincy has affected Babar Azam’s batting.

"Babar is a star player and when he scores then the entire nation becomes happy and proud. But captaincy has put a pressure on Babar's performance. He indeed looked stressed, both in World Cup and Asia Cup. So he needs to learn how to handle pressure and think only as a batsman and how to get runs when he is there at the crease. It is easier said than done," he added.

Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who was also part of the panel as well, echoed Akram saying that Babar alone cannot be blamed when the entire bowling unit and the middle-order batters failed to make a mark.

"As a fan of Babar, we did expect that he would be among the top-three run-getters. But in Indian conditions he failed. And in terms of resources, all were toothless. If the fast bowlers and the spinners are not performing then Babar is not the only one to blame. But when it comes to leadership, everyone has to take the blame, whether it is the team management, selectors, coaches and Babar. It is because these resources were picked by them and you backed these out-of-form players," Misbah remarked.


By Salman Anjum - 12 Nov, 2023

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