Former Australia legend believes the elegant right-hander deserves a promotion in the batting order
Former Australia legend Ian Chappell has slammed the Pakistan team management for playing their premier batsman Babar Azam at number five in the batting order against Australia in the first Test at the Gabba, Brisbane.
Azam led the Pakistan fightback on the fourth day of the Test as he scored a magnificent century against the hosts.
The elegant right-hander had been in excellent form in the lead-up games, but was out to a disappointing shot in the first innings for just one.
He was a different player in the second innings, however, and never looked in trouble until he edged Nathan Lyon to wicketkeeper Tim Paine to fall for 104.
While speaking to Wide World of Sports, Chappell said that Babar deserve a promotion up the order in the Test side.
"I think he's a very good player. But Pakistan have got to make much better use of him by getting him further up the order," said Chappell. "Four is the minimum. He should have batted at four in the match and I'd like to see him put in at three, but certainly no lower than four.”
"I think if he had come in at 1/75 in the first innings, how much difference it made to the game we'll never know but it was ridiculous to send him in at five,” he added.
When Babar was questioned about the same issue, at a press confernece after the end of the first Test, he did not seem too bothered about his batting position.
"When I started playing Test cricket, I didn't have a set number, I was up and down the order because Younis bhai and Misbah bhai were there, sometimes I was at 5 or 6 then when we came to Australia, I was at 3, then later I went to 4," said Azam. "It's not that I wasn't given a specific number, it's that I always go according to the team requirement and the team plan.
"I don't say put me at this number or that number. I'll do whatever is best for the team. I will play at any position where the team requires me to, my job is to perform," he added.
Chappell also applauded the positive approach of Babar and wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan during their 132-run partnership.
"It makes a hell of a difference to the game when the batsmen are looking to be positive and that was a really positive partnership between Babar Azam and Rizwan, they played really well,” he said."So, I think it was a combination between the pitch being a bit flat, the ball getting a bit old and some really good batting.”
Rizwan fell five runs short of his maiden century as Pakistan were dismissed for 335 late on the fourth day and Australia went one up in the two-match Test series.