'No shrewdness, street smartness': Misbah lambasts Babar after shocking US loss

Misbah urges Pakistani team to come out of their shy-boy attitude in the upcoming matches

By Web Desk
June 08, 2024
Misbah ul Haq (right) criticised Babar Azam (left). — AFP/Instagram/babarazam

Former Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq blasted skipper Babar Azam over Green Shirts' defeat against the USA on Thursday (June 6) at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.

Speaking during a sports TV show, the former coach said he expected the team to play well in their first match of the T20 World Cup. 

Criticising, Babar's captaincy by calling him a "clueless captain", the 50-year-old urged the Pakistani team to come out of their "shy-boy attitude" in the upcoming matches.

"In crucial matches, while defending a target, Babar doesn't have the shrewdness and street smartness you need. Even in terms of selection, we've seen this since the ODI World Cup and Asia Cup that when something isn't working, you don't search for a solution. You think it'll just happen, but it doesn't. You have to find a solution," said Misbah. 

"There are crucial decisions, like bowling a non-regular off-spinner to two set right-handers. You suddenly bring Amir with the new ball ahead of Naseem. With death bowling, we bowl full-pitched slower ones or yorkers with mid-off up. So many boundaries are hit over mid-off, but we don't learn. 

"Naseem has won matches with the bat and can easily hit 2-3 sixes; his confidence level is different, so why are you sending Haris Rauf ahead of him? With the new ball, you're controlling the game as the captain, and you know you have 3 bowlers who bowl 140+. In the first 6 overs, there isn't a single bouncer against a team like the USA. When the ball is reversing, you're only focused on saving runs, not taking wickets,” the 2012 Asia cup winner said.

“It was a humiliating defeat for the 2009 T20 World Cup winners by the associate team USA,” Misbah said.

The ex-cricketer said that the USA were dominating while Pakistan were waiting and thinking help would come from above. "No plan. Babar Azam said they were not able to execute their plans. There was no plan. When it came to handling the fast bowlers, we didn't know who would bowl after the first over. Both Naseem and Amir were walking to take the run-up. So, we did not have a plan for even 2 overs. They looked clueless," he said. 

"Look at their game awareness and look at ours. In the Super Over, they were pinching extra runs via byes. In terms of fitness, in terms of speed, in terms of smartness, they defeated us," he added.

Moreover, the right-hand batter questioned the Pakistan Cricket Board over their decision of replacing Babar Azam with Shaheen Afridi and ignoring the poor performance of the team in the ODI World Cup 2023.

"In the last 6 months, look at whatever has happened behind the scenes. After the ODI World Cup, there was a musical chair for the board chairman role, and then for captaincy. The problems that came out of the ODI World Cup, we were not able to settle them down. They have one in with the same batting order, the same spin bowling unit, same balance of the team, captaincy, and planning. The chronic problems resurfaced," Misbah said.

Pakistan will lock-horns with arch-rivals India on Sunday at the Nassau County International Stadium in New York.