Friday, March 1

‘There’s a lot of politics in Pakistan’ – Grant Flower hopes Babar Azam handles pressure of being the Skipper

Grant Flower and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Babar Azam took over the reins of Pakistan’s T20I team ahead of Australia tour last year. He was also named the skipper of the ODI side last month when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the central contracts for the 2020-21 season. While many are looking at this as a positive decision and backing Babar to come good, Pakistan’s former batting coach Grant Flower has cautioned him stating that there is a lot of politics in the country’s cricket.

Flower was at the helm for the Men in Green from May 2014 and his contract wasn’t renewed after the World Cup last year. Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy in 2017 was the highest point during his tenure with the team. However, after the ouster last year, he had accused the former Pakistan players of back-stabbing and had stated then there is a lot of politics within the TV channels, journalists and the PCB itself.

This time around, he backed Babar Azam to come good as the captain. But Grant Flower also cautioned him saying that pressure mounts on very good players if the team doesn’t do well. It then also affects on the particular cricketer’s batting according to him.

“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,” the former Zimbabwe cricketer was quoted as saying by Statsperform.

Pakistan’s next assignment England tour

Babar Azam and Pakistan’s next assignment is most likely to be England tour in August. With the ECB getting clearance from the government to organise the sport behind closed doors, they are keen to host West Indies and Pakistan to kick off their international summer. Pakistan is scheduled to play three Tests and as many T20Is on the tour.

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