Background image

'Babar Azam is playing exceptional cricket,’ says Pakistan coach

Pakistan coach Mohammed Yousuf has praised star batter and national captain Babar Azam, saying "he is playing exceptional cricket."

“Babar Azam has been showing everyone for the past two, three years that he is a big player and performs even better in pressure situations,” Yousuf said Thursday.

“A player becomes big when he performs well under pressure. He is on a path towards becoming great in the game."

Azam has been at his peak performance this season. The right-handed batter is currently ranked third in Tests. Azam appeared in 15 matches across all formats this year, scoring 1,406 runs in 19 innings at an average of 78.11.

His highest individual score is 196. This year, his willow has produced five centuries and ten half-centuries.

The way he is batting in all formats, that too with the responsibility of captaincy, is an achievement. Even the team responds to him well. As a player and as a captain, he is playing exceptional cricket," Yousuf continued.

Yousuf said his team was looking beyond the India match on August 28. He said Pakistan was aiming for the Asia Cup title.

“The first thought is to win the Asia Cup, and we’re focused on that goal,” he said. “The preparation is for the whole tournament. We’re not looking just at the India match rather we’re looking to win the whole tournament.”

The Pakistani cricketers said his squad worked hard during their practice session, all despite the current weather in Dubai.

“It is hot and humid, but they are professionals. They practised really hard. Of course, they are humans, they will feel heat and weakness, but they are enjoying it,” the coach said.

Pakistan practises without Shaheen

On Thursday, Pakistan began training for the Asia Cup in Dubai. They were preparing to reenact their win over India in the T20 World Cup last year at the same venue.

However, the team will play without left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has been ruled out due to a knee injury. Shaheen was advised by the PCB to rest for 4-6 weeks. He is expected to make his cricket comeback in October, just in time for the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Nonetheless, the 21-year-old is still travelling to Dubai with Azam and the organisation because the captain asked Shaheen to do so.

“Babar wanted him to stay with the team. Management wants to closely monitor his injury rehab. He will be staying in Dubai itself with the team.” a PCB official said.

The coach refused to comment on how the team would function without Shaheen or update Mohammad Hasnain on his current situation upon his return to be Shaheen’s replacement.

In a video posted by their official Twitter handle, India stars Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, and KL Rahul greet Shaheen with smiles as Pakistan arrives for training. Kohli can also be seen having an exchange with Shaheen about his injury.

Asia Cup 2022

The India-Pakistan rivalry will resume on August 28 at the Dubai International Stadium when the two teams compete in Group A of the 2022 Asia Cup.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the Super 4 round, which will begin on September 3.

The Super 4 teams will compete once, with the top two moving on to the September 11 final.

From August 27 to September 11, Dubai International Cricket Stadium will accommodate nine games, while Sharjah Cricket Stadium will host four.

The Asia Cup, which was last played in the ODI format in 2018, is currently held by India. India last won the title in Dubai after defeating Bangladesh in the final.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.