July 13, 2024
Babar Azam’s Strategic Shift: Aiming to Improve Strike Rate Amid Criticism

Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam is focusing on improving his strike rate following significant social media trolling and criticism. Despite his impressive performances in the past year, Babar has faced backlash for his perceived slow scoring rate. In response, he is taking strategic steps to enhance his batting approach.

Babar Azam’s Recent Performances

In 2024, Babar Azam played eight innings in which he scored over 40 runs. However, only one of these innings saw a strike rate above 150, which has been a point of contention for his critics. Despite this, his overall performance has been commendable.

Key Performances in 2024:

  • T20 World Cup 2024: Scored 44 runs off 43 balls with a strike rate of 102 against the USA, considered a decent rate given the pitch conditions.
  • Series Against New Zealand: Scored 57 runs off 35 balls with a strike rate of 162, 66 runs off 43 balls with a strike rate of 153, and 58 runs off 37 balls with a strike rate of 157.
  • Series Against Ireland: scored 57 runs off 43 balls with a strike rate of 133, and 75 runs off 42 balls with a strike rate of 179​.

Efforts to Improve Strike Rate

Acknowledging the criticism, Babar Azam has initiated efforts to enhance his strike rate. He has consulted with renowned batting coach Shannon Young, known for his work with Glenn Maxwell and other aggressive batsmen. Young’s expertise in developing hard-hitting techniques is expected to benefit Babar in improving his strike rate.

Consultation Details:

  • Shannon Young’s Track Record: Known for improving the strike rates of players like Glenn Maxwell and young Australian batsman Jack Fraser, who now boasts a T20 strike rate of 156.
  • Focus Areas: Babar aims to adopt a more aggressive batting style, enhancing his ability to play explosive innings consistently.

PCB’s Stance and Future Opportunities

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has granted No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to key players, including Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Afridi, for participating in global T20 leagues. This decision allows Babar to dedicate time to refining his batting skills and strike rate.

PCB’s Recent Decisions:

  • NOC Restrictions: The PCB has restricted top players from participating in overseas T20 leagues to ensure they focus on their fitness and form.
  • Training Opportunities: The upcoming period without international white-ball matches provides Babar ample time to work on his game under the guidance of experts like Shannon Young​​.

Historical Context and Comparisons

Babar Azam’s situation is not unique. Many cricketing greats have faced similar phases where they had to adapt their game to meet the evolving demands of modern cricket. Players like Virat Kohli and Steve Smith have also undergone significant changes in their approach to remaining competitive and relevant.

Comparison with Peers:

  • Virat Kohli: Adapted his game to become a more aggressive player in limited-overs cricket, significantly improving his strike rate.
  • Steve Smith: He worked extensively on his technique to enhance his scoring rate in T20s and ODIs.

Conclusion

Babar Azam’s proactive approach to addressing the criticism about his strike rate demonstrates his commitment to the team and the game. By consulting with top coaches and focusing on improving his aggressive batting, Babar aims to silence his critics and regain his stature as one of the leading batsmen in world cricket.

Read More: Cricket Australia Proposes Triangular Series with India and Pakistan Amid Political Tensions

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