Sanjay Manjrekar Supports Pakistan’s Decision to Change Babar and Rizwan’s Opening Partnership
By CricShots - Jun 14, 2024 6:59 pm
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Pakistan’s top-order batters Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have built a formidable partnership in T20Is. Collectively, they have amassed 3,252 runs from 69 innings at an impressive average of 48.53, including 10 century and 15 half-century stands. The duo has been opening the innings in T20Is for a considerable time, and it was only natural for them to continue this role in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan

However, in the first two matches of the tournament, Babar and Rizwan struggled to provide strong starts, resulting in Pakistan losing both games. Consequently, the team management decided to tweak the batting order for their third match of the competition.

Babar was moved down to the No. 3 position, while Saim Ayub was promoted to open alongside Rizwan against Canada. Although this adjustment didn’t yield immediate results, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar believes it is a step in the right direction.

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“I’m glad they (Pakistan) have made a change in the batting order,” Sanjay Manjrekar said on Star Sports. “Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan can’t be opening together. Both of them were not really keen to strike early, so they put somebody else in at the top. Left-hand, right-hand combination is not such a bad thing. So some good things are happening there.”

Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar

Pakistan suffered initial defeats to the USA and India, but a subsequent win over Canada has kept their Super Eight hopes alive. Despite this, Manjrekar believes Pakistan’s batting remains an area of concern and that the team might face a tougher challenge in the next round, assuming they qualify.

“Batting is still a bit of a concern. Mohammad Amir is coming into his own. So I see them just being better than Ireland to win the game. But once they get into the Super Eight, that is going to be another sort of acid test for them because they are not looking as good as some of the other teams that have gone through,” Sanjay Manjrekar noted.

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Manjrekar’s views contrast with those of former Pakistan batter Ramiz Raja. The ex-PCB chief feels that, given the current state of Pakistan’s batting lineup, the team needs stability and assurance at the top of the order. This differing perspective highlights the ongoing debate over the best approach to optimize Pakistan’s batting strategy as they navigate the pressures of the T20 World Cup.