Asia Cup 2022: Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq backs Babar and Rizwan after final defeat

Saqlain Mushtaq also dismissed suggestions of a left-right opening combination of Fakhar Zaman with either Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan.

Babar, currently the second-ranked T20I batter in the world, managed only 68 runs in six innings in the Asia Cup.

Babar, currently the second-ranked T20I batter in the world, managed only 68 runs in six innings in the Asia Cup. | Photo Credit: AP

Saqlain Mushtaq also dismissed suggestions of a left-right opening combination of Fakhar Zaman with either Babar Azam or Mohammad Rizwan.

Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq dismissed concerns about captain Babar Azam’s form and found nothing wrong with opener Mohammad Rizwan’s batting approach after its loss to Sri Lanka in Sunday’s Asia Cup 2022 final in Dubai.

Babar, currently the second-ranked T20I batter in the world, behind teammate Rizwan, managed only 68 runs in six innings and his form would be a concern ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia, beginning next month.

“If someone looks at his batting, you’d just say he’s unlucky, especially the way he’s getting out,” Saqlain said after its 23-run defeat against Sri Lanka.

“It’s just a patch. If you look at the rankings, he’s (among the) top in T20 International and in ODIs. It’s just been bad luck. The way he’s training and playing is amazing. His work ethic is top notch.”

Babar’s opening partner Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with 55 off 49 balls in Sunday’s final but his traditional approach to batting appeared ill-suited for the 20-over format.

“Every team and player have their own style and methods,” former Test spinner Saqlain said.

“It’s not compulsory that you do what the rest of the world is doing ... His approach is not wrong.”

Saqlain also dismissed suggestions of a left-right opening combination of Fakhar Zaman with either Babar or Rizwan.

“If you keep shuffling, it sends a message that you don’t trust them,” he said.

“You need to give them time. It’s not good to shuffle a lot. It sends a wrong message.” 

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