'Important that they start off with Babar and Rizwan' - Ramiz Raja wants Pakistan to back their veteran players

The strike rate of two of Pakistan’s biggest stars - Babar Azam, also the captain, and Mohammad Rizwan, who also keeps the wickets, is never-ending.
 
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While plenty of experts and viewers have suggested a change in the opening combination of Pakistan, Ramiz Raja has raised his voice against this move in a chat with Cricbuzz.

The strike rate of two of Pakistan’s biggest stars - Babar Azam, also the captain, and Mohammad Rizwan, who also keeps the wickets, is never-ending. The duo have been one of the most prolific run-scorers in a format known for impact knocks over personal milestones, but their scoring rate hasn’t been ideal or up to the standards.

It eventually harms the side, for Pakistan often end up without an above-par score because even when Babar and Rizwan take a few balls and settle, their hitting gears aren’t as developed, making their knocks negative in the context of the game. Even while chasing, the duo have often started slow and not utilised the powerplay overs when the field restrictions are imposed, piling the pressure on the batters to follow, for they have to take unnecessary risks to keep the required rate in check.

Even in the ongoing edition of the T20 World Cup 2024, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have continued their lacklustre batting approach, leading to two shocking defeats against the USA and India. Pakistan had both games in their pocket, and the duo had to take responsibility for their team ending on the wrong side.

Also Read: 'We are not a gully cricket team:' Shaheen Afridi urges Pakistan fans to support them in tough times

It’s just that they can’t strike a precise balance between consistency and scoring rate, which has been going on for a while now. Even when their positions change, Babar and Rizwan don’t really adapt to the situation and continue playing their own game.

Important that they start off with Babar and Rizwan: Ramiz Raja

While plenty of experts and viewers have suggested a change in the opening combination of Pakistan, Ramiz Raja has raised his voice against this move in a chat with Cricbuzz. He wants Babar and Rizwan to continue opening because they provide solidity at the top.

“Looking at what Pakistan have got, you cannot afford to start by losing wickets. They may not give you the strike rate of a Rohit (Sharma) or a Virat (Kohli), but, you know, at least they give you solidity. And this Pakistan team, with the kind of batting lineup that they've got, they've got to play within what they have got. So it's important that they start off with Babar and Rizwan because it takes years to establish an opening partnership and pair.”

While Babar and Rizwan provide stability, T20 cricket doesn’t allow their approach. They have not upgraded their game.

Pakistan are now on the brink of elimination. Babar and Rizwan must fire if Pakistan are to keep themselves alive.

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