‘It took me 2 months to convince Babar Azam to bat at No. 3 in T20Is’: Mohammad Hafeez makes shocking revelation

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Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam


Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez, who was recently sacked by the PCB as team manager, claimed that it took him 2 months to convince star batsman and former all-format captain Babar Azam to come down and bat at number 3 to facilitate young Saim Ayub. pairing with batsman Mohammad Rizwan.

Hafeez made this claim about Babar Azam accepting his instructions and requests while speaking on a program on local channel A Sport called The Pavilion, which also featured panelists like legendary former left-arm pacer Wasim Akram and another former captain Misbah-ul -Haq. The show is considered to be one of the most unbiased and opinionated cricket analytics programs in the world and they sat together to discuss the ninth edition of PSL.

The conversation started after the host asked Misbah about a certain team that had selected 7 opening batsmen in the team, and asked him about the mentality and strategy behind this strange decision. Responding, Mohammad Hafeez, who was appointed national team manager in November 2023, explained how he led the Pakistan team, which had six openers during their five-match T20I series in New Zealand last month.

It was the first time in over 2 years that the Green Army went on an overseas T20 tour without Babar Azam as captain. It was also Hafeez’s second assignment with the team after enduring a 3-0 test series whitewash in Australia under the captaincy of Shan Masood.

Pakistan had lost the series against New Zealand 4-1 and Shaheen Afridi’s tenure as captain got off to a terrible start. While talking about the question asked by the host, Hafeez stated that he had to bet on 6 opening batsmen to choose in the playing XI, claiming that it is never an easy job to do.

Hafeez also revealed that most upcoming Pakistani batsmen are reluctant to bat at number 5 or 6, creating a shortage of batsmen in the middle order before revealing that he has asked Babar Azam to drop down to number 3.

“Pakistan did not have any option for number 5 or 6. We select most of the players based on their scores and how many runs they accumulate because most Pakistani players want to play as openers in white-ball cricket or in the number 3. And they put pressure on us on who to choose,” Mohammad Hafeez said via A Sports.

“This time, during the T20Is in New Zealand, we had 6 starts. And the first two openers Babar and Rizwan have been opening for 3 years, then you bring in Fakhar Zaman at 3, so how do you manage the other 3 openers? It was a difficult task and it took me about two months to convince Babar Azam to appear as the first attempt,” Hafeez added.

“You are a great player, a wonderful…”, Hafeez applauds Babar Azam

Mohammad Hafeez then applauded Babar Azam for his exceptional technique and contribution to the national team.

“You are a great player, a wonderful batsman and you have been playing very good cricket, but we also have to develop the Pakistan team. And that’s why I want you to come to number 3 because you are playing this role in ODI cricket for the last 6 years. Technically he is very solid, so I thank him for accepting my decision and him at 3 is the best way to move forward,” Hafeez concluded.