Babar Azam looks jittery against spin when he starts his innings, says Ramiz Raja

Written by Shreyas Vyas

Ramiz Raja said that Pakistan skipper Babar Azam doesn’t feel comfortable while facing spin bowling at the start of his innings. In seven matches in World Cup 2023 thus far, Babar has scored 216 runs at an average of 30.85 with three half-centuries to his name.

The 29-year-old has got out to spinners five times after being dismissed by Colin Ackermann, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Noor Ahmad, Tabraiz Shamsi and Adam Zampa.

On Tuesday, Babar scored nine runs off 16 balls against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. With Pakistan in a dominant position, Babar tried to go downtown off Mehidy, but holed out to Mahmudullah Riyad at long on.

Raja said that Babar needs to start playing the sweep shot on a regular basis to counter quality spin bowling.

“If you want to find fault in his batting, it’s his batting against spin upfront when he starts the innings. He is not fluent as he is when he is facing pace. I don’t know whether it’s his footwork whether it’s in his mind, or whether he doesn’t have too many options because he doesn’t play the sweep shot. On slow pitches, you need to play the sweep shot,” Ramiz was quoted as saying to Star Sports.

“Every time he has been aggressive, he’s gotten out as well. Against Afghanistan, he hit a massive six and then got out just at the wrong time. So the confidence builds and it goes flat,” he stated.

“All he needs to do is work his way through to a hundred where he faces pace, spin, and feels comfortable about his role. He is not entirely out of touch, he is still middling the ball, but it’s that when he begins his innings against spin, he looks just a little bit jittery,” Ramiz added.

Pakistan beat the Tigers by seven wickets to stay alive in the competition. After being asked to chase down 205, the Men in Green romped home with 17.3 overs left in their innings. Pakistan’s next match is against New Zealand on November 4 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

About the author

Shreyas Vyas