Shan Masood ready to die for Babar Azam

Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam (L) and top-order batter Shan Masood (R). — AFP/File 

Pakistan’s top-order batter Shan Masood, who is currently representing Multan Sultans’ in the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) eighth edition, said that other players including him are ready to die for Babar Azam

Speaking during an interview with a private TV channel, Shan said that all of the players are backing Babar. 

“We were ready to give our lives when Sarfaraz Ahmed was our captain and now we are ready to give our lives for Babar Azam,” said the batter. 

Talking about the criticism of the skipper and Pakistan team, Shan said that the leader comes first. “We watch a lot of news on criticism of the team but we don’t get bothered by them as our mutual goal is Pakistan and to play for our country,” he added. 

Shan also named Shaheen Shah Afridi as his favourite bowler, saying that it is hard to save oneself from his bowling in the first over. 

“If you are surviving Shaheen’s first over and also hitting a six, it means that you are playing very well as he is the number one bowler in the world right now,” he said. 

Shan hoped to see a final of the PSL between his team and Shaheen-led Lahore Qalandars — which is currently the number one team in the tournament and PSL 7’s winner. 

Criticism on Babar

Babar is often criticised for his low strike rate in T20 cricket. Some cricket analysts and fans also question his on-field decisions as a captain.

Pakistan also haven’t been able to win a single Test match at home under Babar’s captaincy last year and were also handed a 2-1 loss against New Zealand in a three-match ODI series earlier this year.

However, the right-handed batter led Pakistan to the semifinals in two successive T20 World Cups — 2021 and 2022 — and finished as runner-ups in the latter.

Recently, cricket legend Shahid Afridi said that the Peshawar Zalmi skipper had not yet “proved himself a match-winner”.

While heaping praises on Babar, Afridi, who recently served as the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) interim chief selector, called him the number-one player in the world but opined that he is “yet to put on some match-winning performances”.

Earlier, the former seamer Shoaib Akhtar popularly known as Rawalpindi Express for his extraordinary speed in bowling, also criticised Babar, saying that the skipper needed to work on his oratory skills. Akhtar also claimed that Babar has failed to become a “brand” in Pakistan.

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