Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar is known for his outspoken nature. The former speedster does not hesitate from sharing his views on any topic in cricket. From reviewing his team’s performances in different series on his YouTube channel to openly calling out the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and its officials when unhappy, Shoaib Akhtar does it all. The former pacer also never shies away from criticizing the players.
However, sometimes Akhtar goes overboard while speaking about things and his recent comments about Pakistan captain Babar Azam seem to be something on the same line. Akhtar has called out Azam for his poor communication skills and has claimed that the Pakistan skipper has failed to establish himself as a brand for the same reason.
Speaking to Suno TV, Akhtar spoke about how several Pakistani players, including Babar Azam, appear uneasy when they come for interviews. He opined that if cricketers cannot manage the media, they won't be able to express themselves on television.
"Cricket is one job and handling media is another job. If you can’t speak, I am sorry but you won’t be able to express yourself on the TV,” Akhtar said. “I want to openly say this that Babar Azam should be the biggest brand of Pakistan, but why he hasn’t become the biggest brand in Pakistan? Because he can’t speak,” he added.
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Akhtar also mentioned the aforementioned reason as to why former cricketers are preferred over present-day cricketers by brands for advertisements. "Is there any other cricketer who can speak well? Why only me, Shahid Afridi and Wasim Akram get all the advertisements? The reason is that we take it as a job.”
Meanwhile, fans were left unimpressed with this comment from Akhtar as they called out the former pacer for ridiculing a player of Azam’s quality just because he does not know how to speak a foreign language.
Check out the reactions here:
Notably, in 2020, Babar in a press conference was asked about his English Language skills, to which he responded that he is working on improving his communication skills. “I’m a cricketer; my job is to play cricket. I am not a ‘gora,’ who knows English thoroughly. Yes, I am working on it, but you learn these things over a period of time, you can’t just suddenly learn it,” Babar had said.