Azam Khan’s career has been marred by inconsistent performances

June 16, 2024

Azam Khan’s career has been marred by inconsistent performances

In T20 cricket, power hitters play a pivotal role, transforming the game with their explosive batting. The format’s limited overs and condensed match time necessitate quick runs, making power hitters indispensable for teams aiming to set or chase high targets.

Power hitters possess the ability to score rapidly, often changing the course of a game in a few overs. Their knack for clearing boundaries with ease adds vital momentum, pressuring the opposition’s bowlers and altering field placements. This aggressive style not only accelerates the run rate but also boosts team morale and creates an electric atmosphere, both on the field and among spectators.

Strategically, power hitters are often positioned in key batting slots, typically in the middle and lower-middle order. This placement ensures a strong finish, capitalizing on the final overs where quick runs are crucial. Additionally, their presence can unsettle bowlers, forcing them into defensive tactics and making it easier for other batsmen to score.

For the ongoing T20 World Cup, Pakistan selectors picked Azam Khan, the son of former wicketkeeper-batsman Moin Khan as a middle-order power hitter with the expectations that Azam will play a vital role in quick run scoring in the death overs.

Most people have been critical of Azam Khan’s selection in the World Cup squad, let alone of his place on the squad. But despite his failure in the T20I series against Ireland and England, selectors gave him an opportunity to regain his form.

The pressure to perform on his shoulders, Azam Khan failed to prove his haters wrong as he was dismissed for a golden duck in Pakistan’s first game against USA.

To add to the mountain of negativities surrounding Azam, he went on to fight with a Pakistan fan at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.

The 25-year-old Azam has been a figure of much debate and discussion in Pakistan’s cricketing circles. Despite numerous opportunities to prove his mettle, Azam Khan’s career has been marred by inconsistent performances and unmet expectations. His journey serves as a cautionary tale about the pressures of living up to a legacy and the challenges faced by young cricketers in the spotlight.

Azam Khan burst onto the domestic cricket scene with significant promise. His powerful hitting and aggressive batting style quickly caught the eye of selectors and fans alike. Many saw in him the potential to become a mainstay in Pakistan’s middle order, especially in the shortest format.

Despite his evident talent, Azam Khan’s performances on the international stage have been sporadic at best. His inconsistency with the bat has been a major concern. Often, he has shown flashes of brilliance, playing a few match-winning knocks, only to follow them with a string of low scores. This inconsistency has prevented him from cementing his place in the national team.

In the T20 format, where his power-hitting could have been a significant asset, Azam has struggled to deliver consistently. His strike rate has been commendable, but the lack of substantial innings has been a sticking point. His inability to adapt to different match situations and the demands of international cricket has often left fans and selectors disappointed.

Azam Khan has played 14 T20I so far, managing only 88 runs with an average of just 8.80 with a high score of 30* against Ireland.

Selectors have shown faith in his abilities, giving him repeated chances to find form and consistency. However, each opportunity has ended in disappointment, with Azam failing to convert his potential into consistent performances. The cricketing fraternity has often debated whether his selection was influenced by his lineage rather than his form and fitness.

Azam has been afforded numerous opportunities to prove himself. He has been a regular feature in various domestic leagues, including the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where he has played for teams like Quetta Gladiators. However, his performances in these leagues have mirrored his international outings - occasional brilliance overshadowed by long periods of mediocrity.

Another major issue that has plagued Azam Khan’s career is his fitness. Questions about his weight and agility have been persistent, affecting his fielding and running between the wickets. In modern cricket, where fitness is as crucial as skill, Azam’s physical condition has often been a liability. Efforts to improve his fitness have been evident, but they have not translated into sustained improvements on the field.

The Pakistan cricket team had a training camp at the Kakul Academy in Abbottabad in March this year, where the players underwent grueling training.

The results were contrasting, while most players aced their fitness tests, the spotlight fell on Azam Khan who reportedly struggled to complete the entire 2-kilometre run.

Azam Khan’s journey in cricket is a testament to the challenges faced by young cricketers trying to carve out their own identity, especially when they come from a lineage of cricketing greats. Despite many chances, Azam has not been able to live up to the high expectations set for him.

His story highlights the importance of not just talent but also consistency, fitness, and the mental toughness required to succeed at the highest level. While he remains a talented cricketer, the window of opportunity for Azam Khan to make a lasting impact on Pakistan cricket is rapidly closing.

Azam faced significant criticism on social media platforms for his poor batting against the USA, and former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram spoke in detail about Azam’s outing against the USA during a chat with an international news outlet. Akram stated that Azam is not helping his cause and that some of the decisions made by the team management are beyond his understanding.”Babar needed a power hitter. Azam is my friend’s (Moin Khan) son. He grew up in front of me, but he’s not helping his cause,” Akram said.

“During our times, you could’ve probably gone off the radar. There was no social media. You just cannot hide. When we played against the USA, you didn’t play him as a wicketkeeper. He didn’t field for 8 overs. He played as a pinch-hitter, but he couldn’t come with Fakhar because he sat out for 8 overs. I just couldn’t understand that,” said the former Pakistan skipper further.

Azam Khan picked a fight with a fan at the T20 World Cup match between Pakistan and the United States. After getting dismissed off the very first ball, Khan fought with a fan after reaching the dugout.

If he wants to return to the national squad, Azam Khan first work on his fitness, reduce weight, play four day cricket, perform in the domestic circuit (not only leagues) then he can get attention from the selectors, otherwise with his current performance his international cricket career may be over.

Azam Khan’s career has been marred by inconsistent performances