Former Pakistan wicketkeeper batter Kamran Akmal has revealed in a recent interview that he advised the current Pakistan captain Babar Azam into taking the leadership role back in 2019.
Speaking to Hafiz Muhammad Imran in a YouTube session after Pakistan’s defeat to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final, Akmal said, “When I got to know that he was being appointed as the captain, I said to him, ‘I don’t think you should become the skipper now. You should perform for the next two-three years in a big way….currently the batting lineup is dependent on you’.”
Akmal further added that he suggested a young Babar Azam to making a name for himself the same way as Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.
“I said to him, ‘If you score 35-40 hundreds in this time, then you’ll be able to enjoy as well as manage the team as a captain. As soon as Sarfaraz leaves, the responsibility will definitely come on you. But now is not the right time.’ I had said this to him back then but it was his own decision.”
Akmal, who played his last match for Pakistan back in 2017, admitted that removing Babar from captaincy post the Asia Cup will be a big blunder now for Pakistan cricket but also mentioned that improvements were needed.
“Now he has matured as a captain,” he said. “It would be a blunder if they replace him now. But it should be better than the way he’s captained in the Asia Cup final. Before that his captaincy was superb. He utilised his bowlers very well. He utilised Nawaz very well. But when your form isn’t good, you can adjust yourself in the lineup for the team.”
“Rizwan (Mohammed) can be sent at three or he (Babar) can do that himself, Fakhar (Zaman) can be made to open.”