'Babar Azam is like my younger brother but...': Shahid Afridi's red-hot take on Pakistan captain after PSL 2023
Legendary Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi pointed out that Babar Azam takes time to build his innings in the shortest format. Afridi also lauded former Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
Legendary Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi is seeking an explosive batter to complement Babar Azam in the batting lineup of the Green Army. After Babar parted ways with Karachi Kings, the star batter captained the Peshawar Zalmi franchise in the recently concluded season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
In his debut season for the Peshawar Zalmi franchise, Pakistan's all-format captain Babar smashed 522 runs in 11 matches. Averaging 52.20, the batting sensation finished the tournament as its second-highest run-getter. Though Babar guided Peshawar Zalmi to the business end of the competition, his side was outclassed by Lahore Qalandars in the Eliminator 2 of the PSL 2023.
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Reflecting on Babar's recent performances in the shortest format, legendary Pakistani all-rounder Afridi claimed that he has never criticised the star batter of the Green Army. However, Afridi pointed out that Babar takes time to build his innings in the shortest format. The former Pakistan skipper observed that Babar needs a batting partner who possesses a batting strike rate above 135-140 in T20s.
"Babar Azam is like my younger brother, and I have never criticized him. But you need to play with a good strike rate in T20s. Babar takes time to build his innings. He should have a partner with a strike rate above 135-140. We have seen a few players in the PSL who can bat in the top order for Pakistan and can build partnerships with Babar," Afridi told News24.
Babar's opening partner in international cricket, star wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan was the leading run-getter in the PSL 2023. Rizwan batted at a strike rate of 142.85 and smashed 550 runs in 12 matches. Earlier, popular commentator Simon Doull was called out by fans after his strong criticism of Babar during the PSL 2023. Babar had slammed his maiden PSL century during the 2023 season of the elite tournament.
Afridi also lauded Virat Kohli, who recently ended his century drought in the longest format of the game. “I've always rated him high. He plays positive cricket,” said Afridi, who played 99 T20Is for Pakistan. Afridi recently guided Asia Lions to title glory in the 2023 edition of the Legends League Cricket. Afridi's Asia Lions thrashed World Giants by 7 wickets in the final of the Legends League Cricket at the West End Park International Cricket Stadium.