Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has criticized Babar Azam’s captaincy in Pakistan’s 2023 World Cup loss to South Africa. Pakistan set South Africa a 271-run target after opting to bat first in Chennai on Friday, October 27. Later, South Africa chased down the target with just one wicket and 16 balls in hand.
Reviewing the game in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “When the match was going on, it was first eight wickets and then it became nine wickets, the only thing going on in my mind was what was that captaincy. At least tell what were you trying. You allowed singles. It didn’t make any sense and you had to pay for it in the end.”
He added, “So many overs were left and your main bowlers’ overs were about to end. Only spin was left after that. But you kept all the options open for singles, that you will keep four or five players in the circle and rest to man the boundary. What will you gain from that? If you were thinking that they would play till the end and then you might save it, which world are you in? It was totally beyond my understanding. How were you not keeping a slip for your main bowlers and extra fielders within the circle?”
However, Pakistan would have won the game if the on-field umpire had given Tabraiz Shamsi’s leg-before-wicket off Haris Rauf’s bowling as well. Although Babar Azam reviewed the decision, it wasn’t overturned as the ball hitting the wickets which turned out to be the umpire’s call. And, Aakash Chopra shared that Mohammad Nawaz has frequently been the unfortunate bowler to concede the winning runs as well.
He again shared: “Nawaz’s fate is also like that. Hardik Pandya hit one day on the Dubai ground. Then Ravichandran Ashwin hit it at the Melbourne ground. Here, Keshav Maharaj hit it, this was the Chennai ground. Nawaz always finds himself in a difficult situation.”
However, Aakash Chopra has added that the Pakistan batters struggle against Tabraiz Shamsi in their 2023 World Cup clash against South Africa on Friday as well. Shamsi registered figures of 4-60 in 10 overs as they bowled out Pakistan for 270 in Chennai on Friday, October 27. South Africa then registered a one-wicket win with 16 deliveries to spare as well.
Chopra added: “It is confirmed that Pakistan cannot play leg-spin. Shane Warne used to get them out. Then Anil Kumble took 10 wickets in an innings.”Don’t talk about this tournament at all – Kuldeep Yadav, Adam Zampa, Noor Ahmad, Tabraiz Shamsi, Adil Rashid and Ish Sodhi. The last two haven’t taken, but they will when they play. Marco Jansen – whichever match it is, he picks up two wickets for sure. He has taken two or more wickets in all matches he has played in this World Cup thus far, he took three wickets in this match. He does the job at the start for sure. Gerald Coetzee also did his job.”
“Babar Azam did score a fifty but got out for 50. Babar hasn’t got that rhythm where you will say that he is a mighty batter. There is no doubt that he is a mighty batter, but we haven’t seen that batting thus far, and I have already spoken about his captaincy. From whichever angle you see, you will find that he is falling short,” Aakash Chopra concluded. “The Pakistan Cricket Board have also thrown him under the bus. England are also doing badly, but the ECB is not asking the fraternity to stand with Jos Buttler. If you do that, it means you want them to speak about Buttler. Pakistan is a different level – different stories run there.”