Gambhir calls Babar’s captaincy ‘extremely ordinary’ after PAK’s Asia Cup loss | Cricket

Pakistan faced a heart-wrenching defeat to Sri Lanka in their final Super 4 match of the 2023 Asia Cup, leading to their exit from the tournament. Going up against Sri Lanka in a must-win encounter, Pakistan made a remarkable resurgence after the hosts initially appeared to be in control of the game. However, the match ended with a thrilling climax as Charith Asalanka, displaying tremendous composure, secured a dramatic two-wicket win for Sri Lanka over an injury-hit Pakistan, with the final ball deciding the outcome.

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (L) and team mates react as they walk back to the pavilion after Sri Lanka's victory by 2 wickets after the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4(AFP)
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (L) and team mates react as they walk back to the pavilion after Sri Lanka’s victory by 2 wickets after the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4(AFP)

In a rain-affected 42-over Super 4 game, Sri Lanka required six runs off the last two deliveries. Asalanka, exhibiting nerves of steel, guided his team to victory by first edging a boundary to third man against the debutant fast bowler Zaman Khan. Then, he executed a crucial shot to square leg, collecting two runs and taking Sri Lanka’s final total to 252-8.

This nail-biting triumph propelled Sri Lanka into the Asia Cup final against India, scheduled for Sunday. For Pakistan captain Babar Azam, it was a heartbreak followed by severe criticism over his leadership in the game; former India opener Gautam Gambhir had no mercy for the side’s skipper as he raised objections over some of the captaincy decisions from Babar.

Citing examples from the final two overs, Gambhir questioned Babar’s fielding placements. “For me, extremely ordinary captaincy as well. There was a four hit in Zaman Khan’s over over mid-off and there was another four hit in Shaheen Shah Afridi’s over over mid-off, and both those deliveries were slower ones.

“If you want to bowl slower ones, keep the mid-off fielder at long-off and bring the third man up. This is extremely simple captaincy. Imagine if you had 13 runs left in the last over, it would have been difficult for Sri Lanka,” said Gambhir.

Didn’t use bowlers well

The former India player was also critical of Babar not being aggressive enough with his decisions, insisting that he didn’t use the likes of Shaheen Afridi and Zaman Khan properly.

“You were allowing the game to drift at one stage. You wanted to complete your sixth bowler’s quota. It doesn’t work out like that. When the partnership was developing between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama, you should have brought on your main bowlers and tried to pick up wickets,” said Gambhir.’


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