Babar needs to establish himself as a match-winner, says Akhtar

Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes Babar Azam needs to do more if he wants to create a name and establish himself as a match-winner.

Babar scored a brilliant 69 in the first innings of the Manchester Test against England, but was dismissed cheaply in the second innings, contributing with just five as Pakistan lost the match by three wickets.

“Shan Masood was unlucky but he had already played his part. Asad Shafiq got run out, it is again his fault. But Babar Azam has to come out with something good, because you cannot create a name like this. You might be a good player, but you have to establish yourself as a match-winner,” Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Earlier, former England captain Nasser Hussain had demanded more respect for Babar, saying the Pakistan vice-captain is part of the top five Test batsmen in the world.

“I think it is a real shame and it is in part a consequence of Pakistan playing away from home, playing in the UAE all the time in front of no one, Pakistan hiding in the shadow of Indian cricket, not going over and playing IPL cricket, not playing India,” Hussain was quoted as saying by Sky Sports following Babar’s 69 in the first innings.

“If this lad was Virat Kohli, everyone would be talking about it but because it is Babar Azam, no one is talking about it. He averages 68 since 2018 and 55 in white-ball cricket. He’s young, he’s elegant, he’s got all the swagger.

“They keep going on about the fab four, it’s the fab five and Babar Azam is in that,” he added.

The two teams will now lock horns in the second Test of the three-match series beginning Thursday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.