New Delhi: According to former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar, calling Pakistan skipper Babar Azam a one-dimensional player is a little harsh and feels that with the majority of batting responsibility on his shoulders especially in the first innings, it can at times limit a player from doing well.
After managing to score just 68 runs in six outings at the 2022 Asia Cup, Azam is enduring an up-and-down time in the ongoing seven-match T20I series against England at home, as seen from his scores of 31, 110 not out, 8, 36 and 9 in five matches played till now.
“To call him a one-dimensional player is a little harsh because he is a quality-quality player. And if anything, the numbers suggest that he is not one-dimensional. The fact that he can change gears and you look at his numbers from the first innings to the second innings. In the first innings, his strike rate is about 125, second innings his strike rate is about 137 which shows that he has the ability to change gears,” said Gavaskar on ‘Sports Over The Top’ show on Sports18.
Asked about how Azam the batter is at ease in the second innings and records diminishing returns while batting in the first innings, Gavaskar explained, “I think it is a mental mindset with Babar. Fear of failure. And when I say fear of failure, I don’t mean fear of failure as a batter. I could be wrong here; he feels that the Pakistan team revolves around his batting.”
“So, when he is batting first, he feels that he’s got to stay long because if he fails the team might fail and that can sometimes shackle a player. And that’s what happens to him when they are batting first.”
“When they are batting second, when the target is in front of him, he is just phenomenal because he knows how he needs to pace his innings. He knows at what strike rate he needs to go and how he needs to sort of chase that target down.”
“When he has got that target in front of him, he is just phenomenal. So, for me to call him a one-dimensional player, it is a little harsh. But I think sometimes it’s just the mental mindset which he may need to change when they are batting first,” concluded the former left-handed batter.