Azam Khan, the explosive batter for Islamabad United, has defended Peshawar Zalmi captain Babar Azam, who was recently chastised for his slow strike rate.
The former collapsed after the powerplay in game 12 of the PSL between Zalmi and United. Despite this, Babar raced to a half-century in 33 balls. His next 25 pitches, however, only produced 25 runs.
Azam, on the other hand, scored 97 runs off 42 balls during game 13 of the PSL between United and Gladiators. Azam came in to bat with United trailing by 43 runs and finished his innings with a strike rate of 230.95.
Azam was asked about the difference in his approach versus Babar’s during the game 13 post-match press conference. In response, the 24-year-old clarified that opening and middle order are two distinct positions, with middle-order receiving fewer deliveries.
Azam further added that the strike rate is more critical than averages, and Babar had to be cautious as he was stranded at one end.
The middle of the order is a difficult position to bat in. If you are 40 for 4 on the powerplay or 120 for 3, you must finish things off. People tend to focus on averages, but T20 is all about impact. Babar is correct in that if your team is six down, you must ultimately carry your team. It is unjust to criticize a world-class player like him. When I play, I have a different mindset.
Azam, too, began slowly, scoring 25 runs off 20 balls before hitting his first six against the Gladiators. He then went on to score 72 runs in just 21 balls, finishing with a blistering strike rate of 343. Azam’s outstanding performance unquestionably establishes him as a force to be reckoned with.