In a recent interview, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi expressed that Babar Azam needs to improve his game to a level like that of Virat Kohli in T20 cricket. Azam has been one of the top batters in world cricket and is also ranked number one in ODIs. But there has been constant criticism regarding his batting prowess in the shortest format, regarding the rate of scoring which could be detrimental for the team.
While speaking to an Indian journalist Sushant Mehta, Afridi was asked about the issues of run-scoring rate and strike rate Azam is dealing with in the powerplay. Mehta also gave names of other players from Pakistan who have excelled in that role in the recent past.
Reacting to this, the 46-year-old stated that Azam needs to definitely improve in that aspect and gave Kohli’s example as someone who he rates "very highly" and came back after a difficult run of form. Afridi also spoke about how Azam takes time to build his innings and hence needs a quick-scoring player to bat with him at the top to take full advantage of the powerplay in T20 cricket.
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Babar Azam himself has managed to improve his game and showed off a new, more aggressive batting style in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League 2023. Azam, leading the Peshawar Zalmi, emerged as the second-highest run-scorer of the tournament with 522 runs at an average of 52.20 and a strike rate of 145.40.
His best performance in PSL 2023 although went in a losing cause, was a knock of 115 in 65 balls against Quetta Gladiators in PSL 2023 Match 25 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. The century included 15 fours and three sixes, which the batter hit at a strike rate of 176.92.