Former Pakistan pacer, Wasim Akram, has criticized the national team captain, Babar Azam, for a tactical blunder during a recent 2023 World Cup clash against South Africa in Chennai.
During a recent interview with a local news channel, Akram highlighted the choice of selecting Mohammad Nawaz, who was not in good form, over Usama Mir, who still had two overs left and was performing well in his bowling.
According to his perspective, Nawaz’s lack of self-assurance and below-average bowling were the decisive factors that led to the team’s loss to South Africa.
“When Nawaz got that over, Usama had two overs remaining at that time. He was bowling better as well. He was going to baffle the tailenders with mystery googly or leg spin. Yes, I agree that his first three to four overs were not up to the mark, but he [came back] took two wickets for 45 runs,” Wasim said.
While acknowledging that the overall captaincy was acceptable, the veteran cricketer expressed bewilderment over the utilization of bowler Nawaz.
“Other than this, the captaincy was fine. You [Babar Azam] used main bowlers and got the wickets but I couldn’t understand why Nawaz bowled there. He didn’t have the confidence and he was bowling above his shoulder, which means his ball would drift down towards the leg side. I think that was a massive mistake by the captain that you don’t use your main bowler — who was taking wickets,” he said.
Akram praised the Pakistan pacers for making a comeback in the match, with particular appreciation for Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim.
“In the end, they made a game out of it, Pakistan bowlers. Haris bowled his heart out, it was good to see Wasim making an impact in that game because he has got the talent, we all knew that, he didn’t get a consistent chance but today he did well with pace, troubled the batters as well,” he concluded.