Babar Azam’s time to shine as Pakistan captain


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Pakistan, under their new captain in Babar Azam, will take on England one last time in this tour. The third and final match of the T20I series between the two sides is being played after the first match had to be abandoned due to incessant rain – a match where the bowling attack of Pakistan certainly had the hosts under the pump before Morgan’s men chased down 196 against the Asian team in the second affair.

Fancy 11 takes a dig into how things might unfold at Manchester as Babar Azam will look to lead his side to a series-levelling victory.

 

Overview

The Asian team had great starts to both their matches in the ongoing T20I series. After winning the toss and bowling in the first game, the men in green with their bright new kits reduced the hosts to 131/6 before the rain gods made their minds of making an appearance and never leaving.

In the second match, after England’s captain Eoin Morgan asked Pakistan to bat first.

The duo of captain Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman gave Pakistan a great start, scoring runs quickly.

Babar scored his 14th T20I half century in only his 40th game in the format. The very talented young batsman crosses the 50 run mark once in less than three matches.

To put things in perspective, when Eoin Morgan played that match-winning 66 run knock later that day, the experienced England middle order batsman had also crossed the half-century milestone for the 14th time across his decorated T20I career of 91 matches. Averaging a fifty plus score every six and a half  T20I matches in the England jersey.

 

A Comparitive Study- Azam & Morgan

You can definitely attribute the reason for Babar Azam getting the scores consistently because he has mostly opened the batting for Pakistan while Eoin Morgan aims to finish things off for his side, coming to bat in the middle order.

England have boasted quite a handful of destructive opening batsmen in the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Alex Hales who’ve done well over the years at the top. So the need for Morgan to step up at the start never arises. As it is, he has been a middle order batsman from the very start of his career and has evolved into one of the best at that role.

Users of fantasy cricket apps these days spend time in getting information about the form of players and then making their ideal team. Fancy 11 is a new fantasy cricket site, where not only the user tests his cricket knowledge and skills but also gets a chance to earn cash prizes which makes it all the more interesting.

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The Power Captains
The 2 Camps

Pakistan, currently 4th in T20Is, were the top ranked side in the shortest format of the game for a pretty long time until recently. They are known to be a mercurial side and on their day, can demolish any opposition. But their consistency is something that repeatedly haunts them as the good performances are far too rare, with far too many ordinary showcases in between each good day at the office.

At the start of the series – owing to the fact that players must respect the bio-secure bubble – meant that England have a completely different side than their Test squad. This presented Pakistan with an opportunity to pounce on the hosts, who walked into the T20I series lacking some of their top drawer players in Jos Butler, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes – who returned to New Zealand for personal reasons – among other prominent names.

But the depth of even the second-string England side is so much that they’ve more or less been adept at handling whatever threats the Pakistani camp have thrown their way.

England skipper, Eoin Morgan, deserves due credit while we try to decode what’s ensured this English side’s success in their return to limited overs cricket after the pandemic enforced break. Playing alongside young and budding players, cricketers who are been given chances to prove their mettle at the highest stage for England, Morgan has been adjusting to the batting order accordingly.

When under pressure in the second T20I match chasing a mammoth total of close to 200, Morgan came out all guns blazing in scoring 66 at a strike rate of 200 to ensure that his team remained ahead of the equation when he was finally dismissed. Not to forget, he’d also scored a century in the ODI series against Ireland that marked England’s return to the ODI format in early August.

Fans in the lookout for using fantasy cricket apps and making their teams should know that both captains in Babar Azam and Eoin Morgan are enjoying a rich vein of form.

A talented batsman- Babar Azam
Pakistan’s batsman Babar Azam (L) celebrates with teammate Sarfraz Ahmed (R) during the 2nd ODI match between Pakistan and West Indies at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, on October 2, 2016. (Photo credit: KARIM SAHIB, Getty Images)
With Great Batting Comes Great Responsibility as Captain!

But these are early days at the captaincy role for Babar Azam. Failing to defend 196 in the second T20I has certainly raised eyes on whether the star batsman is capable of handling the leadership mandate.

History have enough evidences where great batsmen don’t necessarily mean they’d be equally effective captains as well. There is constant media pressure, board pressure, selection of players and many other things that needs to be looked after once you’re at the helm.

But the good thing for Babar is that he has time, he will be turning 26 next month and doesn’t have many competitors for his role.

The new coaching management that has Misbah Ul Haq as the Head Coach, Younis Khan as their batting coach and Waqar Younis as their bowling head have taken some serious decisions in bold exclusions of senior players who haven’t been performing of late.

They have also showed signs of investing in Babar Azam as their future captain, letting him get comfortable in his new job and doing everything in their ability to ensure that the transition is a smooth process. Younis Khan, after their loss in the second T20I, backed up Azam in saying that he’d like the batsman turned captain to take his own decisions.

Babar Azam has got enough senior experience in the squad that he could turn to for advise during tough phases of the match. When Shaheen Afridi, young Pakistan pacer was being taken to the cleaners by the brutal English batting line-up, a conference was held at the bowlers end that saw the likes of Shoaib Malik, the most experienced member of the Pakistan side, captain Babar Azam, and Mohammed Amir having an intense discussion.

But Babar must know that the it is he who must take the final call, the final decision and stay true to his actions, irrespective of how things eventually turn out. He has conducted himself on the cricket field with utmost composure so far in his career and has a calm head on his shoulders – exactly the type of player a team would want as their leader. We can expect things to change for the better as we see more of Azam leading Pakistan.

Babar Azam- a Team Player.
Calm and Composed-Babar Azam is the Captain Pakistan needs.

 

Interesting Turn of Events

It’s been just more than 14 years since Pakistan played their first ever T20I. Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were a part of that side all those years ago and they still made it to the playing XI for both the matches so far.

That being said, the prospect of defeating England in their own backyard with the type of players they’ve come up with and their attacking brand of cricket will always remain a tough nut to crack for any team -let alone Pakistan.

Looking at other players in the England side, Tom Banton has been an exciting inclusion. The young batsman has the reputation of playing the role of a swashbuckling opener and had the numbers to show for his performances in the Vitality T20 Blast in England – where he’s powered Somerset to many wins courtesy his rousing starts at the top that sets the tone.

With the top order being congested, Tom Banton had to accept a middle order slot while playing the first few games for England before he was slotted to open the batting in the first game of this series.

Tom Banton, A young and bright batsman.
Banton- A swashbuckling opener

The youngster unleashed his wide array of shots enroute his maiden T20I fifty that culminated with an impressive knock of 71. On a day when all other England batsmen struggled to score against the guise of Shadab Khan and the discipline of other Pakistan pacers, the performance of Banton stood out.

 

Read also:  5 things to take away from Pakistan vs England 3rd T20I

Dawid Malan, after missing out in the first game, came good in the second with a century partnership alongside captain Morgan. His unbeaten 54 will not only boost his morale but also reinstate confidence in the minds of the selectors that he could be held on to once the big names return to the side. The experienced left hander has been scoring consistently in the limited opportunities provided to him and his struggles to make it regularly to the English side should speak about the strength that Morgan’s men possess.

The English bowling department has an inexperienced look to it, with Adil Rashid being the best bowler from the second game where almost every other colleague of his conceded runs at around the ten an over figure.

Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory are all new faces, earning their national call-up by making the right sounds in the domestic circuits. It’ll be interesting to see how the England thinking tank tinkers with their side on Tuesday, if they would in the first place. Tom Curran, with his variations and cutters, can go for runs, as we’d seen in the last game, but he’s somehow had the trust of the selectors and has that knack for breaking partnerships at crucial junctions.

The Pakistan bowling attack, surprisingly enough, looks more settled and predictable than their English counterparts. Mohammed Amir has suffered a strain, which would mean that Wahab Riaz will get a game in the final match of the tour. Haris Rauf, the express pace, who’s impressed in T20 leagues around the world hasn’t had a great start to his international career. Going for 32 without any scalps in his three overs in the first T20I, he picked up a couple of wickets in the second, going for 34. Welcome to international cricket, Haris Rauf!

Pakistan Team in T20I

 

Fancy11’s Chosen XI

For the avid fans of the game, very enthusiastic fancy premier league participants, or looking to earn some quick cash by cricket money apps or other cricket earning apps, following is the probable XI that’d fetch you good for the final T20I fixture between England and Pakistan.

1. Tom Banton
2. Babar Azam
3. Dawid Malan
4. Eoin Morgan
5. Mohammed Hafeez
6. Moeen Ali
7. Mohammad Rizwan
8. Shadab Khan
9. Tom Curran
10. Adil Rashid
11. Haris Rauf

The reason Rizwan has been preferred ahead of the attacking keeper batsman in Jonny Bairstow is because including both captains like Babar Azam and Eoin Morgan, makes the purse amount limited in opting for the remaining players.

Different fantasy apps for cricket have their set of rules and regulations that you would have to abide by while making your dream eleven from both sides. You will face challenges in making the team with best players and that calls for some changes and compromising on your part.

 

End Thoughts

Millions of people will make their own teams, have their own ideas, opinions, judgments and cricket has never ceased to amaze. The very beauty of the game remains in the fact that it can’t be predicted accurately, with all it’s twists and turns. More so when the format gets shorter, as one magical spell, or one batsman going big can change the entire dynamics of the game. The margin of error is so small in the game that even a magnificent fielding effort, culminating into a runout against the run of play, can change the course of a match.

If you’re a viewer of the sport, wishing to see a more global competition and not just a few side like England,Australia and India dominate – your heart will be rooting for a Pakistan win today that would mean the series being tied at 1-1.

But it’s easier said than done though as Morgan and Co. will have their tasks cut out and know that the Asian side will come with all of what they’ve got – good times for cricket fans ensue.


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