‘You cannot create a name like this’: Shoaib Akhtar says Babar Azam needs to ‘establish himself as match-winner’

The first Test against England in Manchester last week exposed the chink in Pakistan’s armour once again. It was a tale of two matches for Pakistan in two different innings. In the first one, Pakistan came out on top, scoring 300+ and bowling out their opponents with over a 100 runs short. From then on, it seemed that this match would be a smooth sailing for Pakistan. But things turned sideways very quickly.

Pakistan were bundled out for 169 in the 2nd innings, setting a target of 277 for England to chase. With half centuries from Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes, the hosts went on to chase down the target with three wickets remaining.

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In a video on Youtube, Pakistan pace bowling legend Shoaib Akhtar said that the team’s batting let them down in Manchester. “Pakistan got an opportunity to put a big score but they made the same mistake that they have been doing since partition. That the batting lets us down,” he said.

“We needed partnerships, stroke-making only when you get loose balls. It was a great chance for Pakistan to put 350-400 runs on the board,” Akhtar added.

The former Pakistan seamer went on to add that if a batsman cannot capitalise of 107-run lead, then he is of no use to the team. “But again, none of Pakistan’s star batsmen could score runs. If you have to become a big player and earn a name, these are the situations.

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“If you are not able to capitalize on a 107-run lead, however big a batsman you may be, you are of no use,” Akhtar said.

Babar Azam scored a brilliant half century on the first day of the Test, but was dismissed early on the 2nd day, and could only score 5 runs in the 2nd innings. Akhtar said that Babar needs to become a match-winner to make a name for himself.

“Shan Masood was unlucky but he had already played his part. Asad Shafiq got run out, it is again his fault. But Babar Azam has to come out with something good, because you cannot create a name like this. You might be a good player, but you have to establish yourself as a match-winner,” Akhtar said.

England have taken 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series against Pakistan. The two teams will meet again in the 2nd Test which begins from Thursday.

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