While former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar has criticised Pakistan captain Babar Azam for his communication skills apart from also taking a dig against former Pakistan wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, Akhtar has picked Pakistani all-rounder Shadab Khan as his choice for the next Pakistan captain. Akhtar had spoken about the inability of Pakistan cricketers to communicate well in English and it being the reason for Babar Azam to become the biggest brand in Pakistan as well in the cricket world.
“Shadab is a very smart kid when it comes to cricket skills. He wants to improve, which is a very good thing. He is ready to accept his mistakes and rectify them. In the past two years, he has worked really hard on his bowling and his fitness has improved as well. He wants to look good and speaks well. In times to come, he is not a bad option for captaincy for Pakistan in white-ball cricket,” Akhtar was quoted by Cricket Pakistan.
While Pakistan had reached the final of the ICC World T20 last year under Azam’s captaincy, Akhtar has been critical of Azam’s captaincy in white-ball cricket since long. Azam has been the captain of the Pakistan cricket team in all the three formats since 2020. Akhat, who has been vocal about his thoughts about Azam and other Pakistani cricketers, feels Khan is an aggressive captain. Currently Khan is captaining Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023 edition and was the vice-captain of Pakistan team in last year’s ICC World T20 in Australia. The Mianwali born 24-year-old all-rounder has played six Test matches, 53 ODI’s and 84 T20Is for Pakistan in his career and Akhtar believes that the all-rounder can guide his team Islamabad United to a title win in PSL this year. “Shadab is a great captain and future of Pakistan cricket. I think Shadab is an aggressive captain with a balanced team, great batting line-up and a great attitude. Shadab and Azhar Mahmood (Coach of Islamabad United) are looking great and they can win the PSL 8 trophy,” Akhtar added.
Earlier the former pacer had criticised Azam’s communication skills. You have to note these things, my intention was not to belittle Babar… he is a brand face…I want him to look that way. Babar is as big a player as Virat Kohli if you see Virat’s video…he speaks fluently,” the 47-year-old had told ARY News last week.
Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Rameez Raja had termed Akhtar as a delusional superstar after his comments on Azam and Akmal. “Shoaib Akhtar is a delusional superstar. He also had an issue recently with Kamran Akmal. He wants everyone to become a brand, but it is more important to become a human first. First, become a human and then a brand. Our former players degrade our cricket brand by giving delusional statements. You will never see that happening in our neighbouring country. You will never see Sunil Gavaskar criticising Rahul Dravid. It only happens in Pakistan, where former players don’t let others do their job professionally,” Raja had told Pakistan TV channel Bol News.