Waqar reveals reason behind Babar Azam’s improved Test captaincy
Former Pakistan captain, Waqar Younis, revealed the key reason behind the national team’s skipper, Babar Azam’s effectively enhanced performance as Test captain. Waqar attributed Babar’s success to shedding the burden of batting pressure and gaining confidence, which positively impacted his captaincy on the field.
In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, the cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that Babar, being one of the biggest names in cricket and an exceptional player, had the added pressure of living up to high expectations as a batsman. The fear of underperforming and its potential consequences on the team’s outcome seemed to weigh heavily on Babar’s shoulders. However, he left behind the pressure that once held him back.
“When you have got such a big name and also are an equally great player, then you do have that added extra pressure of batting. Batting pressure means that if I wouldn’t score runs, the team might end up losing, or maybe the team wouldn’t perform that well. So I think Babar must have gotten rid of that monkey on his shoulder and felt a little less burdened. Other players performed well; some of the pressure must have been released from Babar, and subsequently, his performance, particularly with respect to captaincy on the field, significantly got better. This is what we saw, how he did bowling changes and kept switching bowlers at the appropriate timings; we saw some extended spells as well,” Waqar said.
“Given the pressure on Nauman, he [Babar] persisted with him; moreover, Nauman did exceptionally well in the second Test match. It is about confidence – whether batting, bowling, fielding or captaincy – And I think Babar’s confidence is sky high right now, particularly after this series,” he added.
Pakistan are at the top of the ICC World Test Championship standings after beating Sri Lanka in the second Test in Colombo. This feat came under Babar’s captaincy as Pakistan is the only team with an unblemished record during the new 2023-25 WTC cycle following their 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka.