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Babar Azam needs to score big runs: Shahid Afridi

Former Pakistan captain believes middle-order batsman is the backbone of the team

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s former all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes that prolific batsman Babar Azam needs to become a match-winner, before he can be compared with the best batsmen in the world.

Azam scored 69 and five in the first Test against England, in Manchester, which Pakistan lost by three wickets.  

"He is very talented - the backbone of the team - but needs to score big runs," Afridi told BBC Sport before the second Test, which starts on Thursday.

“If Babar wants to become like Root, Kohli, Australia's Steve Smith or South African AB de Villiers then he needs to convert his fifties into hundreds," the 40-year-old added.

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He also heaped praise on young pacers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi but urged them to be more consistent with the ball.

"We have high expectation of Naseem and Shaheen," said Afridi. "They are young, energetic and highly talented, but if they are to become like Wasim and Waqar then they have to be consistent in their performance and we have to win matches.”

"They need to just take the pressure which they are under, enjoy the game and give 100%," he added.