Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar hasn’t been mincing his words while criticising Pakistan skipper Babar Azam over his poor communication skills. He has been hitting out at the young batter, stressing that he can never become a “brand” in the country, as he doesn’t know how to express himself in front of the media. However, on a lighter note, Akhtar recently shared an old incident about him bowling to a young Babar in the nets during his coaching days. He revealed how the Pakistan skipper had hit him for a straight drive, which had left him fuming in anger.
“I still remember Babar used to come to the academy. Mudassar bhai would accompany him at the time. Once, I told Babar to bat in the nets, and specifically told him to not hit me for a straight drive. But he’s a natural batter who relies on his cover and straight drives. Soon, he hit me for a straight drive. Tab maine socha, ‘Main isko chhorunga nahi’ (Then I thought, I won’t spare you). Then, Mudassar bhai (former Pakistan head coach) told Babar to come out varna ye ball mar dega (or else he will hit you),” Akhtar told Suno News.
Earlier, Akhtar took an indirect dig on Babar after wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan played a match-winning knock for Islamabad United in a Pakistan Super League match against Karachi Kings.
“I found Azam Khan as a responsible guy who can build the innings, not just slog. He spoke smartly in the interview as well, and it felt nice to hear him speak like that as he talked about his performance. When I was playing 20 years ago, I didn’t care how I spoke. But in today’s era, being in media is a part of your job. I can only indicate and pin-point for you, ‘this is a problem, please go and correct it. It’s for your own benefit’. He (Azam) looked like a captaincy material with the way he spoke,” Akhtar had said on Suno News.
Akhtar further took a dig at Babar’s ‘ICC Player of the Year’ award, which he had won earlier this year, and said, “When Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shahid Afridi, and Abdul Razzaq used to play, they would say, ‘the whole ground and its crowd is mine. I control the atmosphere in this place’. And Azam was controlling that. That’s how you become a star. It’s not just about winning ICC Player of the Year awards, no no. The things Azam did… crowd backed him, he took their ownership. He was like, ‘I’m here to run the show.”
Babar is currently leading the PSL team Peshawar Zalmi, who have registered three wins out of six matches. Zalmi will now be squaring off against Lahore Qalandars in their next match on Tuesday.
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