T20 World Cup: Zaheer Khan points out errors in Babar Azam’s captaincy during semi-final clash

T20 World Cup: Zaheer Khan points out errors in Babar Azam’s captaincy during semi-final clash

Zaheer Khan is of the opinion that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam made some wrong on-field decisions.

Zaheer Khan and Babar Azam
Zaheer Khan and Babar Azam. (Photo source: Getty Images)

Pakistan’s staggering campaign in the T20 World Cup 2021 ended with a five-wicket defeat against Australia in the semi-finals. It was a thrilling match as Pakistan looked in the command for the majority of the game. However, some blistering shots from Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis took the Aussie team home in the penultimate over.

While many believe Shaheen Afridi’s poor bowling cost Pakistan the game, several blamed Hasan Ali for dropping the crucial catch of Matthew Wade in the 19th over. However, former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan is of the opinion that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam made some wrong decisions and the same hurt the 2009-edition champions. Zaheer, who represented India in 17 T20Is, reckoned that Babar was not smart enough to rotate his bowlers during the run-chase.

I felt Babar Azam should’ve used Shaheen Shah Afridi in 17th and 19th over: Zaheer Khan

“I felt Babar Azam should’ve used Shaheen Shah Afridi in 17th and 19th over. That’s the only missing trick, the stack-up of the overs and how one sees it,” said Zaheer while talking on Cricbuzz YouTube channel. For the unversed, Pakistan had two overs each of Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi while Haris Rauf had three overs remaining at the 13-over mark.

Zaheer believes Azam should have finished Hasan Ali’s quota of overs earlier and saved Rauf and Afridi for later. “Babar started with Rauf and went to Shaheen a bit quicker. If he had spread that with Hasan being squeezed in the middle, it might have changed the course of the game because you have 12 balls of your main bowler at the end,” he added.

Former Indian batter Ajay Jadeja, who was a part of that same panel, countered Zaheer’s points, saying Babar went for wickets as Wade and Stoinis were the last pair of recognized batters in the middle. Defending his point, the former left-arm speedster said the duo would have anyway looked to bat till the last over to stay in the game.

“Five wickets down, so you know what’s Australia’s best chance, these two looking to bat till the end or now if any damages to be done, is going to be done at the backend like what Wade did. That’s the kind of scenario that can happen and you don’t mind your best bowler going for that many runs. Shaheen went for runs and that’s fine,” he maintained.