Babar, Imam ideal candidates for Pakistan captaincy: Nazir

Pakistan opening batsman was disappointed with the team’s performance under Sarfaraz

Babar, Imam ideal candidates for Pakistan captaincy: Nazir PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Pakistan opening batsman Imran Nazir believes that top-order batsmen Babar Azam and Imamul Haq are ideal candidates to lead Pakistan’s national side in all formats.

While talking to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview, Nazir said that performance should be the only criteria, when appointing captain, and the Men in Green’s current skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed no longer fulfils that standard.

“I think the criteria of captaincy should solely be performance and Sarfaraz Ahmed is not up to the mark in the regard,” said Nazir. “He also seems too involved in things and is always in the bowlers’ ear which is not conducive at times. A bowler is already disturbed, when he is leaking runs, and Sarfaraz’s advice merely adds to the pressure.”

He added: “I think at this point in time only two players are capable of leading the side, which are Babar Azam and Imamul Haq. Both have performed well, are technically good and know how to carry themselves on the field.”

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Speaking about Pakistan’s three-nil Twenty20 International (T20I) series whitewash at the hands of a depleted Sri Lankan side on home soil, Nazir questioned the squad picked for the matches. 

“I think we should have given youngsters a chance instead of the squad that participated in the series,” he said. “There was no energy in the field and players seemed tired which was surprising. Misbah needs to work on a lot of issues inorder to ensure that the team stays on the right track.”

The 37-year-old also spoke about Pakistan’s dependence on Babar to do bulk of the scoring and its negative impact on the right-hander’s performance.

“Babar Azam is a technically solid player but he won’t be able to express himself properly, if he is the only dependable batsman in the side,” he said. “Inorder to bat freely he needs to have the confidence that there are other players who can carry the burden of scoring, if he gets out quickly.”    

Nazir faded away from top-level cricket because of arthritis, for a period of over five years from 2013, also talked about the difficult times he faced during his illness.

“When I was not well and away from cricket only a handful of people came forward to support me, which includes Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and the Lahore Qalandars management. I will always be indebted to them.” he said. “Although it was disappointing that some people, who I always helped during my good times, did not even bother to receive my phone call when I needed their support.” 

He added: “Now that I have recovered from my illness, I will continue to put in the hardyards and hopefully make a comeback in mainstream cricket including PSL.”