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Javed Miandad, Misbah Ul Haq Back Pakistan Captain Babar Azam After Asia Cup 2023 Debacle

Pakistan were eliminated from Asia Cup 2023 after Babar Azam’s men lost to Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage.

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Pakistan will next be seen in the ICC World Cup 2023 in India. (Image: PCB)

Karachi: After a below-par show in the Asia Cup 2023, former cricketers Javed Miandad and Misbah ul Haq have backed captain Babar Azam stating that the skipper should not be blamed alone for Pakistan’s ouster in the Super Four stage. Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka in the penultimate Super Four game to exit the tournament. Eventually, India won the tournament by beating Sri Lanka in the final.

Former captains, both Misbah and Miandad urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) not to press the panic button. “Why blame Babar Azam only when the rest of the team didn’t perform as well in the Asia Cup matches against India and Sri Lanka,” Miandad told media.

Both the players, who have played World Cups on Indian soil, advised the players to let the Asia Cup affect them psychologically during next month’s mega event. “Look our team is not as bad as it played in the Asia Cup.

“It has plenty of potential to do well in the World Cup. Only thing is how quickly our players cope and adjust to playing in Indian conditions before big crowds and in a country where they will encounter some hostility,” Miandad said.

Miandad, who had coached Pakistan on three occasions, said the players also need to take out positives from their Asia Cup performances and plan for the World Cup. “The sooner this suspense about the final squad is ended the better it is for us in the mega-event,” he said.

According to Misbah, Pakistan will do wonders in India if they perform collectively. “Don’t just expect Babar to perform every time. This is not possible. This team has been successful as a collective unit and they must remember that even in India,” he said.

He said Babar had now been the captain for three years and he would only get better in making tactical and leadership decisions with time. “Now is not the time to talk about his captaincy. He is someone who can be relied upon in the World Cup as a captain and batsman.”

The former captain also felt that speculations and discussions about division in the dressing room and rumours about a player leaking inside information would only damage the team spirit. “I have worked with these players as captain, coach and chief selector and I back them to do well in the World Cup,” Misbah said.

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