National side all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed has said criticising the national team captain Babar Azam is “a sin” and said that anyone who criticises the skipper should first check his own level to see if is at par with him.
During a recent interview, Ahmed shared his view on the criticism of Azam's captaincy and defended the skipper. "I think it is a sin if anyone criticises a player like Babar Azam. Throughout the cricket that we have played and that which is being played across the world, it is safe to say that there is no player like Babar.”
He further added that a person who criticises Babar should “first check his own level to see if is at par with Babar”.
“Anyone who criticises Babar should first become a [great] cricketer like Babar.”
Earlier, the national side’s vice-captain Shadab Khan also defended the skipper calling him a “bigger diamond than Kohinoor”.
Speaking in an interview with a local tv channel, Shadab said: “I think we are doing injustice with such a diamond. Pakistan has been blessed with such a big diamond. He [Babar] is even a bigger diamond than Kohinoor.
"I am surprised when people doubt him as a captain or a leader. He is Pakistan’s biggest player. Our nation should respect him the way we respect him in the team."
Babar is often criticised for his low strike rate in T20 cricket. Some cricket analysts and fans also question his on-field decisions as a captain.
Pakistan also haven't been able to win a single Test match at home under Babar's captaincy last year and were also handed a 2-1 loss against New Zealand in a three-match ODI series earlier this year.
However, the right-handed batter led Pakistan to the semifinals in two successive T20 World Cups -2021 and 2022 — and finished as runner-ups in the latter.
Recently, cricket legend Shahid Afridi said that the Peshawar Zalmi skipper had not yet “proved himself a match-winner”.
While heaping praises on Babar, Afridi, who recently served as the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) interim chief selector, called him the number-one player in the world but opined that he is “yet to put on some match-winning performances”.
Earlier, the former seamer Shoaib Akhtar popularly known as Rawalpindi Express for his extraordinary speed in bowling, also criticised Babar, saying that the skipper needed to work on his oratory skills. Akhtar also claimed that Babar has failed to become a “brand” in Pakistan.
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