Mohammad Asif advises Babar Azam over ‘difficult’ New Zealand tour

Pakistan pacer said that captain Babar Azam needs to stay focused on his game

Mohammad Asif advises Babar Azam over ‘difficult’ New Zealand tour PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif believes that the Men in Green’s tour of New Zealand will not be an easy one by any stretch of the imagination.

While speaking to Cricket Pakistan in a telephonic conversation, Asif said that Pakistan captain Babar Azam needs to stay focused on his game rather than turning his attention to what’s happening off the field.

It must be noted that a woman named Hamiza Mukhtar had, few days ago, moved a sessions court in Lahore alleging that Azam blackmailed her and they had fornicated with her consent, with promises of marriage.

She had earlier filed a petition praying upon the court to restrain police officials from 'harassing and blackmailing her and her family members' at the behest of Azam’s family members.

“Pakistan team is relying heavily on Babar Azam. He is always under pressure to perform in the batting department, while also shouldering the responsibility of leading the side,” said Asif. “Now the scandal about his personal life is also going to add more pressure on him, which is why it is important that he keeps his focus on the game.”   

“I have faced similar problems in the past as well. Hopefully this issue will be over soon as it would be better for, both, Pakistan cricket and Babar Azam,” he added.

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Pakistan team who left managed isolation after 14 days of quarantine won’t find it easy to counter New Zealand on the latter’s home soil, according to Asif.    

“After 14 days of isolation, it won’t be easy to perform on the field and it would be a test of players’ mental toughness. One week of training might not be enough for the Pakistan squad,” he said. “New Zealand team is already playing cricket [in the recent past] and their players are in form.”

Asif is set to play the US Open Cricket tournament, where he will be representing Punjab Blues, which starts on December 15 at Central Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida. The final of the event will take place on December 20. The eight-team tournament is divided in two groups, with Asif’s Blues part of group A.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan cricketer Syed Najaf Shah will be leading the Somerset Cavaliers — who are also part of group A. Opener Sami Aslam and middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood are also part of Cavaliers’ side.