Misbah-ul-Haq backs Babar Azam to succeed as Pakistan captain

Pakistan chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has allayed concerns over Babar Azam's ability to deliver with the bat while leading the team.

Misbah said the 25-year-old Babar Azam has shown he is capable of dealing with the expectations.

Misbah said the 25-year-old Babar Azam has shown he is capable of dealing with the expectations.   -  Getty Images

Pakistan chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has backed Babar Azam to succeed as the national team’s ODI and T20 captain despite former batting coach Grant Flower expressing concerns over Azam's ability to handle the pressure that comes with the job.

Misbah said the 25-year-old has shown he is capable of dealing with the expectations. “Making Babar captain of the T20 team last year was a test. We wanted to see how he will respond to the challenge and how it will affect his batting,” Misbah said in an interview.

“But all of us agreed that he handled the pressure well and if anything, the responsibility of being captain only made him show more responsibility as a batsman,” he added.

READ| Babar Azam plays down comparisons with Virat Kohli

Azam was given leadership of Pakistan’s ODI team earlier this month. Flower, who served as Pakistan's batting coach for five years, had said, “He’s got a good cricketing brain but there’s a lot of politics in Pakistan cricket and a lot of pressure from the public.“

“If you start losing, it’s one thing being the best batsman but that will put pressure on your batting skills and it can all come tumbling down pretty quickly.

“We’ve seen with great players in the past the pressures that captaincy can bring, but some players get better and if he gets better than the world is his oyster. Time will tell,” he added.

READ| Babar made ODI captain with 2023 World Cup in mind: Misbah

However, former Pakistan captain Misbah said Azam’s batting had scaled a new height during the tour of Australia last year.

“That is why we decided to also give him the responsibility of leading the ODI team. I think he is ready for the challenge and he should thrive as the team’s top batsman as well.”

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