Pakistan’s surprising defeat against Zimbabwe in the T20 World Cup 2022 has triggered the entire cricketing fraternity, with many former cricketers using different platforms to criticise the way Babar Azam & Co. have been performing in Australia. Sunil Gavaskar, one of the greatest Indian batters ever, feels Pakistan lacked a player of the calibre of Hardik Pandya in the playing XI, which is baffling considering they have one such player available in the squad.
Be it the opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan or the middle-order, Pakistan struggled to put forth a solid partnership in the middle. Despite chasing a paltry target of 131 runs, the team floundered at regular intervals and eventually failed to clinch what was a crucial match for their survival.
Speaking on Sports Tak, Gavaskar admitted that middle-order is a huge concern for the Pakistan team and a player like Hardik Pandya was the need of the hour. Though Mohammad Wasim Jr. played against Zimbabwe, Gavaskar feels he should’ve been included in the playing XI against India as well.
“They don’t have a very settled middle order. In the T20I matches they played before, Fakhar Zaman played at No 3 or 4. Now he is just part of the squad, but not in the XI. Shan Masood is scoring runs, but…,” he said.
“I feel their selection hasn’t been good. For Australia’s conditions, if they had a bowler who could seam up, like Mohammad Wasim Jr. did against Zimbabwe. And he also played a couple of good shots as well. He has that talent,” Gavaskar said.
“Unke paas toh Hardik Pandya jaisa player hai (They have a player of Hardik Pandya’s calibre), he (Mohammad Wasim Jr.) is still new but I’m just giving the idea that he can play those lofty shots and can give you a couple of overs as well. And they did not play him against India. They played two spinners. You need a player who can give you 3-4 overs and can score 30 runs at No. 7 or No. 8 position in the last few overs,” he added.
Pakistan now face a rocky road ahead in pursuit of their semi-finals qualification hopes. Though all is not lost yet, the team does need a few other results to fall in their favour if they are to qualify for the next round.
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