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Pakistan’s former cricketers jealous of Babar Azam

When an Indian cricketer can contact a Pakistan player, why can’t their fellow countrymen do the same?

PHOTO: AFP

If you are ever stuck in a traffic jam behind a rickshaw or a truck in Pakistan, you get to witness various interesting phrases. One is ‘work hard instead of being jealous’. This reveals the stark reality of our society. We find that a successful man has many detractors. They say things like ‘this guy was a toddler who grew up in front of me and now look at him’, ‘he used to wander around in busses and now look at him’ and ‘I fed him biryani once and now look at him’.

People like these are revealing their own insecurities and shortcomings because they are stuck in the same stage whereas the other person has risen above. Twitter is filled with these lowly individuals. In our country, the jobless are considered good and well-behaved while the people who try to achieve something are criticised.

It is clear that this culture permeates the cricket team as well. Babar Azam is an example of this mentality. A 25-year-old is making a name for himself on the global stage while former cricketers are secretly conspiring against him. When his batting technique remained beyond reproach, former cricketers such as Shoaib Akhtar blamed him for not being coherent with his thoughts while talking to the media. Individuals, without any achievements of their own, found faults in his English speaking abilities. Former cricketers such as Aamir Sohail and Ramiz Raja focus on mistakes in his technique. These mistakes could have been dealt with after a single phone call to Babar himself, however, the former cricketers find it better to advertise these issues on different media platforms.

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I interviewed India’s former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin recently, in which he revealed that he had called batsman Younis Khan through a mutual friend after seeing him bounce around and struggle in a series against England and gave him some advice. Younis went on to score a double century in the next match and thanked the former cricketer soon afterward.

When an Indian cricketer can contact a Pakistan player, why can’t their fellow countrymen do the same? On the other hand, the legendary Ian Bishop claims that he sees a bit of Sachin Tendulkar in the way Babar Azam plays. Former cricketer Nasser Hussain regards him as one of the top five cricketers in the world today. However, many of our former cricketers seem to be displeased with Babar’s accomplishments.

Many former players are keeping themselves relevant by spewing hate on social media. Criticism for criticism’s sake is never right. I do not remember former cricketers such as Ramiz Raja finding faults in India’s batsmen or Shoaib Akhtar speaking ill about the likes of Virat Kohli. Babar however keeps scoring runs despite his ‘technical mistakes’ or ‘flawed English’.

Babar Azam did not have the best start to Test cricket, however, he is growing with leaps and bounds in the format. Credit should be given to former head coach Mickey Arthur for backing his talent through the lean stage of his career.

Babar is compared to Kohli all the time however there is a six-year age gap between the two. The Indian superstar has been playing international cricket for ten years compared to the five-year international career of Babar. We might see Babar surpass Kohli in the next five years in terms of run-scoring.

Pakistan have found a great batsman after a significant stretch of time. We were content with the likes of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, who have been badly exposed. We should stop putting undue pressure on a remarkable player such as Babar Azam because that can impact his performance. In times when Babar’s success becomes hard to digest, individuals should remember the interesting phrase printed on the backs of rickshaws and truck, ‘work hard instead of being jealous’.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Cricket Pakistan.