“Next match mein 280…”: Babar Azam responds to critics over strike debate after Zalmi fail to defend 241 vs Gladiators in PSL 8
|Published March 09, 2023
It is seldom that you lose as a captain after your team posts 240/2 on the board on the back of your maiden T20 century. As luck would have it, Peshawar Zalmi captain Babar Azam was on the receiving end of this rare instance in cricket during the recently concluded Pakistan Super League 2023 Match 25 against Quetta Gladiators at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
Azam’s eighth T20 century eventually fell short with respect to powering Zalmi to their fifth victory of the season. Azam, who himself batted at a strike rate of 176.92, managed to allure the wrath of critics in the shortest format yet again.
While the above mentioned strike rate is exceedingly well for an anchor batter such as Azam, faults were found in his knock because he could’ve batted even faster. Azam, who was batting at a strike rate of 180.43 till the 13th over, scored 16 (13) at a strike rate of 123.01 before touching the 100-run mark.
Azam’s strike rate of 123.07 especially after getting his eye in inspired critics to accuse him of chasing a personal milestone in the form of a maiden century in the history of the PSL.
Babar Azam responds to critics over strike debate
Addressing the reporters during the post-match presentation ceremony, Azam was in his usual jovial self taking refuge in sarcasm to answer questions put in front of him. The 28-year old player sarcastically hinted at scoring a 280 (highest innings total in a T20) in their next match against Multan Sultans at the same venue tomorrow.
“We have eight points [after four wins]. The remaining two matches are crucial for us. The sooner we forget this match, the better it will be for us. We’ll sit and strategise [for the next matches]. Inshallah, koshish karenge ki next match mein 280 kar le [If god wills it, we will score 280 in the next match],” Azam told reporters on Wednesday.
If truth be told, Peshawar didn’t suffer entirely because of Azam. It was their bowling which cost them the match last night. Quetta chasing down a record-breaking 241-run target with 10 balls and eight wickets remaining in the match brings to notice the ordeal faced by Azam and his bowlers. It shouldn’t be surprising to note that three out of five bowlers from PZ leaked runs at an economy rate of 14 or more yesterday.
Simon Doull urges Babar Azam to put the team first
Simon Doull, former New Zealand pacer and one of the many PSL 8 commentators, didn’t mince his words while calling out Azam for not putting his team first. Doull said the same right before Azam reached completed his century.
“Hundreds are great. Stats are brilliant. But, it must be team first,” Doull had said on-air. Readers must note that it wasn’t for the first time when Doull took a dig at Azam’s batting. During Pakistan-New Zealand Test series earlier this year as well, Doull was curious if Azam suggests pitch curators to prepare flat pitches in order to improve his personal record.
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