Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif have both criticised limited overs captain Babar Azam.
Azam was named Pakistan’s ODI captain last week and during a teleconference earlier this week, he spoke about a range of issues.
However, Akhtar and Latif feel that Azam didn’t focus on the right subjects.
Akhtar noted that Azam’s personality has to be more like iconic captain Imran Khan and he also advised the 25-year-old to “sharpen up his communication skills, his personality, ability to lead from the front, fitness level etc”.
“Babar Azam wants to be a captain like Imran Khan but this does not mean that it will only be related to playing cricket. He needs to take a leaf out of PM Imran’s book with regards to personality as well,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
“Please don’t speak about things which we already know from the past 10 years. We won’t buy this argument. Babar has to sharpen up his communication skills, his personality, ability to lead from the front, fitness level etc. I think he has a lot to prove.
“I wish him best of luck for the future but if he keeps on following people around him, right now, then he will end up where he started.”
Latif echoed Akhtar’s sentiments and added that Azam showed that his “mental attitude and approach is not up to the mark”.
“When captain is sitting in a press conference, he gives insight about his vision but this was clearly lacking,” Latif said. “Our captain is giving headlines about language barriers and things we already know, like comparison with Virat Kohli.
“Babar should have made a strong statement rather than just following the script given to him. You have already showcased that your mental attitude and approach is not up to the mark.”
Akhtar and Latif’s criticism comes after former Pakistan seamer Tanvir Ahmed advised Azam to improve his England and his dressing sense.
“Try to improve your personality. By personality, I mean a person can change his dressing sense,” Tanvir had said. “Babar Azam also needs to improve his English, which is necessary.
However, Azam responded by saying that he was more focused on his batting, but would also try and work on his English.
Iconic Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq also hit back at Tanvir, saying: “Asking him to learn English is totally irrelevant. He knows Urdu and needs nothing else [to express himself]. There are several world leaders who speak in their mother tongues. An interpreter can explain whatever he says.”