Pakistan legends Javed Miandad and Misbah ul Haq on Tuesday defended Babar Azam, saying the captain should not be squarely blamed for the below-par performance in the just-concluded Asia Cup as cricket is a team game. Talking to the media here at a match of the 40’s Global Cricket Event, Miandad and Misbah both advised the country’s cricket authorities to not press the panic button. “Why blame Babar Azam only when the rest of the team didn’t perform as well in the Asia Cup matches against India and Sri Lanka,” Miandad said.
Both the stalwarts, who have played World Cups in India, also advised the players to not let the thought of playing the mega-event in India affect them psychologically.
“Look our team is not as bad as it played in the Asia Cup. It has plenty of potential to do well in the World Cup. Only thing is how quickly our players cope and adjust to playing in Indian conditions before big crowds and in a country where they will encounter some hostility,” Miandad said.
The veteran batsman, who had three tenures as Pakistan coach, said the players need to learn from their performance in the Asia Cup and plan ahead for the World Cup.
“The sooner this suspense about the final squad is ended the better it is for us in the mega-event,” Miandad said.
He said while other teams have announced their squads and looked settled, there was unnecessary panic in Pakistan cricket after just two defeats in the Asia Cup.
Misbah also said that Pakistan would only do well if everyone in the squad contributes collectively.
“Don’t just expect Babar to perform every time. This is not possible. This team has been successful as a collective unit and they must remember that even in India,” he said.
He said Babar had now been the captain for three years and he would only get better in taking tactical and leadership decisions with time.
“Now is not the time to talk about his captaincy. He is someone who can be relied upon in the World Cup as a captain and batsman.”
The former captain also felt that speculations and discussions about division in the dressing room and rumours about a player leaking inside information would only damage the team spirit.
“I have worked with these players as captain, coach and chief selector and I back them to do well in the World Cup,” Misbah said.
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