Azam Khan makes bold claim about his lower-order batting prowess

Since his T20I debut in 2021, Azam has only managed to feature in eight matches for Pakistan

Azam Khan makes bold claim about his lower-order batting prowess PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan has made a compelling case for his inclusion in national T20 squad, citing his unmatched batting statistics as a finisher in the format. 

However, his plea comes amidst a backdrop of sporadic opportunities and unfulfilled potential at the international level.

Since his T20I debut in 2021, Azam has only managed to feature in eight matches for Pakistan, with his latest stint in the New Zealand series proving to be underwhelming. Despite being dropped five times in his short career, Azam remains resolute in his belief that he deserves an extended run in the team.

In a conversation with Cricwick, Azam expressed frustration over being labeled a "scapegoat" and emphasized his commitment to the team's cause. 

“The team always comes first for me. If it’s a team game and only an individual is made a scapegoat, it makes me a bit angry,” Azam said.

“I get frustrated sometimes. Yes, I deserve an opportunity. I have made three comebacks into the Pakistan team in the past five years,” he further added.

Azam further backed his case by presenting statistical evidence of his prowess as a T20 finisher. Claiming to be unrivaled in Pakistan cricket, he pointed to his batting average and strike rate at the crucial No. 5 and No. 6 positions. 

"There’s no one close to my batting numbers at the No.5 and No.6 positions in Pakistan. In the last four years, only twelve batters have scored runs at an average of more than 25 and a strike-rate in excess of 145 in T20 cricket," Azam said.

“The complete list includes Tim David, Glenn Phillips, Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran, Azam Khan, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Harry Brook, Suryakumar Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Liam Livingstone and Heinrich Klaasen," he further added.

Azam expressed readiness to explore lucrative league opportunities if denied a consistent chance to represent Pakistan, prioritizing national duty over financial gain.

“If I stand among these T20 greats in terms of average and strike rate and I am not given the confidence, cricket has become so fast-paced that it won’t be a financial problem for me because you get so many league cricket tournaments. I know I have this opportunity to make money but I want to play for Pakistan," he stated.

To address these concerns, Azam has urged selectors to afford him a more prolonged opportunity to prove himself. 

“If you give me a long run and I don’t perform, I have no problem if Pakistan drop me. I will try to find a way in by performing in domestic cricket, different leagues,” he concluded.

However, despite Azam's commendable domestic performances, his T20I returns have fallen short of expectations. With an average of 7.33 in the recent series against New Zealand, questions linger over his ability to translate domestic success onto the international stage.