In a recent exchange, the iconic Pakistani fast bowler, often referred to as the ‘Swing of Sultan,’ Wasim Akram, offered invaluable guidance to Babar Azam, urging him to refrain from shouldering captaincy responsibilities in league cricket. Akram underscored the undue stress associated with such roles and advocated for Babar’s focus on playing, scoring runs, and relishing the joy of the game.
Wasim Akram recounted, “I had given an idea to Babar Azam a couple of years ago that don’t do captaincy in league cricket. [You’re a] big player, take your money, play your game, get runs, go home, and then to the next event.” While acknowledging the acceptability of captaincy for Pakistan, Akram pointed out the unnecessary stress brought about by league cricket.
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir echoed Akram’s sentiments, emphasizing the substantial pressure that captaincy placed on Babar Azam, especially during the World Cup. Gambhir expressed confidence in witnessing the emergence of the true potential of Babar now that he has relinquished the captaincy role.
Gambhir remarked, “I think you’ll see the best of Babar Azam now, you’ll see a completely different Babar Azam because I had picked Babar Azam ahead of the World Cup.” He elaborated on the challenges of leading a team during a major tournament, stating, “When you do captaincy in the World Cup and the team doesn’t perform well, then you can imagine the pressure on the skipper. Now, you’ll see the actual Babar Azam, which no one has seen. You’ll see his actual ability from now on.”
Gautam Gambhir emphasized that there is no imperative for Babar Azam to validate his skills, asserting that winning the Pakistan Super League (PSL) would not necessarily enhance the already illustrious career of the right-handed batter. Gambhir declared, “Honestly, Babar Azam possesses immense quality; he has the potential to emerge as the finest batter ever produced by Pakistan.”
The former Indian cricketer further stressed that Babar Azam has a decade of cricket ahead of him, unburdened by the additional responsibilities of captaincy. Despite uncertainties about Babar’s exact age, noted at 29, Gambhir foresaw another productive 10 years in the sport for the talented batsman. This period holds the promise of further achievements and contributions, unrestricted by the weight of leadership duties.