“There’s no question that Babar has been under some adversity,” says Mathew Hayden
Pakistan batting mentor Matthew Hayden has supported his under-fire skipper Babar Azam to produce “something special” in the knockout stages of the T20 World Cup while Hayden was impressed with how the middle order contributed to the team’s cause.
Pakistan batting mentor Matthew Hayden has supported his under-fire skipper Babar Azam to produce “something special” in the knockout stages of the T20 World Cup.
The fourth-highest run-scorer in T20Is since the last World Cup, Babar is struggling with the bat, and a 33-ball 25 against Bangladesh is his best in the last five matches.
“…don’t be surprised whatsoever if you don’t see some fireworks because very special players don’t often stay down for long,”Hayden said during the pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal against New Zealand.
“There’s no question that Babar has been under some adversity. That will make him not only an even greater player…You can’t continue to keep on punching out hundreds and 50s and strike rates of 140-plus.
“There’s got to be moments in time where there’s a lull. And as we all know about the weather, once there’s a lull, there’s often a storm that follows. So look out, rest of the world, because I think you’re about to see something very special from Babar.”
“It has been a rollercoaster ride but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the last World Cup we went into the semi-final undefeated, and Australia pipped us,” Hayden said. “So, yeah, there are ups and downs in this tournament, but I believe yet with our best game, which is a huge threat to our opposition.
“The way the middle order has stepped up to the plate has been excellent and those fast bowlers, man, there’s four of them and they come at a great pace.”
Babar and his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan have struggled at the top but Hayden was impressed with how the middle order contributed to the team’s cause.
“Whilst it (batting) hasn’t gone absolutely to plan, it’s meant that our middle order players have had to step up, and young Haris has been one of those.
“Great story, really significant story of any World Cup. Not even in the squad and now performing like he should have been there from the start.”
“It’s no surprise to see how he came in and played so beautifully. He’s got a very good technique on our fast bouncy wickets. He’s got freshness,” he said.
“One of the things as an outsider coming into this tournament is pretty much the entire cricketing community with the amount of program is fatigued to some degree. “So to have a young, fresh face with nothing to lose, nothing really to gain, but just play with great freedom has been a wonderful expression for him personally but also for team Pakistan.”
Talking about their semifinal opponents, Hayden said New Zealand will pose multiple threats to Pakistan.
“I think New Zealand had some destructive players, you can be put under pressure with the bat…They’ve also got a terrific bowling attack, a well-balanced bowling attack. Good mixture of experience,”the 51-year-old said.
“I even played against Tim Southee, that goes to show you how much experience that team has got… Lockie Ferguson has great pace, and lots of experience in T20 cricket as well so poses good threats. And they’ve got good off-pace bowling as well.
“I think like New Zealand sport, in general, they punch above their weight. They believe they can win this tournament and they’ve got the potential to do that. So lots of threats to our camp, no question.”