Pakistan has had a tremendous run in the ongoing T20 World Cup – having won all of their matches in the group stage to remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
Pakistan was not the team that many experts had termed as the favourites to lift the T20 World Cup title. Just a month before the showpiece event, Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis resigned from the roles of the head coach and bowling coach respectively.
PCB had to make last moment appointments with Matthew Hayden and Vernon Philander roped in as consultants for batting and bowling respectively.
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar credited Babar Azam for his determination and his manner of calm and composed in leading the team.
Gavaskar also reckoned that Babar can become one of the greatest captains of Pakistan in history.
“Pakistan have always been a mercurial side with some of the most naturally talented cricketers in the game. What has pulled them back is an excitable temperament. This time with Babar Azam leading them they are a lot calmer and a lot more game aware team,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Khaleej Times.
“There is no doubt that Babar if he keeps himself fit and motivated is going to become one of the all-time greats of the game. What he can become is also one of the greatest captains that Pakistan has produced. His reading of the game situation is brilliant and the changes that he has been making with the bowling and field placing have been unbelievably accurate,” he added.
Pakistan will meet Australia in the T20 World Cup semi-final clash and their bowling has been one of their strengths.
They have pacers like Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf who can get you early wickets or regular breakthroughs.
Spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan control the runs in the middle-overs with senior player Mohammad Hafeez also giving them the option with his off-spinners.
Gavaskar believes Pakistan won’t feel a bowler short at any point of time in their game against Australia but they must get their openers out early to build pressure around them.
“The variety he (Babar Azam) has at his disposal in bowling means that at no time is he going to be a bowler short and that for any captain is a huge plus. They need to take the early wickets for if the Finch-Warner duo get going then it will be tough to stop the Aussies,” Gavaskar said.
Pakistan and Australia have met 23 times in T20Is, with the Asian side holding the edge with 13 wins. Both teams have won three games in T20 World Cup, and this will be their seventh time in the showpiece event.