Ramiz Raja has cast a discerning eye on Pakistan’s selection and Babar Azam’s captaincy in the aftermath of Pakistan’s agonising two-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup Super Four. Ramiz feels that the resounding loss against India previously has left a psychological scar on Pakistan team’s mind, which they carried against Sri Lanka in the must-win game.
An all-round effort by India had left Pakistan completely demolished in the Asia Cup, Super 4 encounter in Colombo. With the help of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, who scored an unbeaten 122 and 111 respectively, had put India in a commanding position. Pakistan managed to muster just 128, losing the match by a massive 228 runs.
“The massive defeat against India has given a psychological dent to Pakistan. They seemed to carry that loss in this match as well. They looked timid and scared and failed to close out the game. Babar Azam and top order looked over-cautious. They lacked authority,” Ramiz said on his YouTube channel.
The former PCB chief did not mince words while questioning the inclusion of the out-of-form Fakhar Zaman and Babar’s leadership. He also expressed reservations about Babar‘s struggles at the crease, except for a rare standout performance or two.
“Fakhar Zaman is a walking wicket nowadays. His body language is looking shocking. I think Fakhar should himself refuse to play. On a slower track, Babar has struggled, barring one or two innings. He needs to step up as captain as well. He should take authoritative decisions,” he said.
‘Half-fit players should take risks’ – Ramiz Raja recalls Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 1992 tale
Furthermore, the former Pakistan skipper lamented the absence of Imam-ul-Haq, sidelined due to back spasms, and Saud Shakeel, who was unable to recover from a bout of fever and did not feature in the match. Drawing inspiration from cricketing lore, he recalled a tale from the 1992 World Cup.
“In the morning of the match, Inzi refused to play in the semifinals. He couldn’t sleep. He was having a stomach issue. He was forced to play and was told there is no other option. He turned up and played a gem of a knock. Half-fit players should take risks if they want to become great players,” Raja recounted.