T20 World Cup: Why Ricky Ponting prefers Babar Azam over Shaheen Afridi as Pakistan captain | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: The great Ricky Ponting of Australia feels that with Babar Azam leading the team, Pakistan appears much more entrenched.
Babar captained Pakistan in the shortest version of the game for a short while before being reappointed earlier this year, replacing famed pacer Shaheen Afridi.
And Ponting believes that with Babar leading the team, Pakistan’s chances of duplicating their one title victory from 2009 and improving upon their runner-up result from the most recent T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 are far greater.
“Captaincy just sits well with some people and it doesn’t sit well with others. We’ve seen it through the years that some of the best players that have ever played the game have not necessarily made the best captains and the thing that makes some of the very best players so good is how focused they are on what they need to do to get better and to be the best and find a way every day to get better,” Ponting told The ICC Review.
“And when you are captain, you can’t do that. You’ve got to actually compartmentalise what you’re doing, look after your own game, look after all the guys around you. So some guys can manage that better than others,” he added.
Ponting thinks Babar has taken lessons from his failure.
“I reckon Babar when he first started, I had that feeling that he… because if you look at his record, his numbers went down on the back of it. So I think he might have learned a bit from that. Shaheen didn’t set the world on fire as a leader either, so I think going back into a World Cup it just looks like a more settled team when you’ve got someone like Babar as captain rather than Afridi,” he added.
Ponting remarked that the young man at the top of Men in Green’s batting order, Saim Ayub, could surprise people with his ability to hit during the T20 World Cup.
Pakistan’s success in the T20 World Cup will primarily depend on skipper Babar Azam and dependable opener Mohammad Rizwan, but Ponting thinks a youthful batsman at the top of their batting order could surprise everyone.
In Pakistan’s recent Twenty20 International series against Ireland, Ayub and Rizwan started the batting, and Ponting thinks the left-handed striker Ayub is a player to watch at the T20 World Cup.
“I loved the look of Ayub out here during the Australian summer. He played that Test match in Sydney, I reckon it was and I didn’t know much about him then,” Ponting said.
“When I’m sitting there commentating, I like to know about players and what they can do, so I actually went back and had a look at some of his PSL stuff. And he’s a proper player. I think he’s a real star in the making,” he added.
(With ANI inputs)


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