Former New Zealand cricketer Scott Styris feels that with the current form Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is in right now, bowlers will have to bowl a special delivery to get him dismissed. Azam is currently the only batter to be in the top three rankings of all international formats.
A prolific white-ball cricket run-scorer, he will be seen in action during the upcoming Asia Cup, where Pakistan will face arch-rivals India on August 28 in Dubai.
He was one of the main architects in Pakistan’s 10-wicket thrashing of India in the T20 World Cup last year, where he was unbeaten for a 52-ball 68, hitting six fours and two sixes, in the 152-run chase alongside opening partner, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who made 79 not out.
“I’m not so sure (on how to get Azam out). I think what you would say is if India could win, any team could say I’ll give you 16 Babar Azams and then you’re out. They would take it every day of the week. He is that good. He is the number one man going around. Look there’s usually what you look to do is to give him a single and get him off strike and bowl the guy at the other end. And I think that’s not something new. That’s been around for a decade or two, or three decades.”
“So that sort of strategy to Babar Azam, I think he’s used to it, and I’m not sure that will work. I think you’ve almost got to be brave. Be a little bit risky and try that magic delivery that you might be a little afraid to bowl, because if you get it wrong, it can go out of the park because it’s going to take a special delivery to get somebody like him out in the form that he’s in.”
“He’s that good a player at the moment and that’s perhaps the strategy. As it is, I think I’d probably need a few more hours of studying film to work out any genuine weaknesses that he has, but as it is just you’ve got to be aggressive and go after it,” said Styris on ‘Sports Over The Top’ show on Sports18.
Pakistan enter Asia Cup 2022 without their left-arm pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is ruled out of the competition due to a right knee ligament injury. Styris felt that Afridi’s absence is a great news for all top-orders of every side participating in the competition.
“Every top order should be high-fiving themselves because he has every possible attribute that you could want in a fast bowler. He has height, he has the pace, he gets bounce, he has that ability to swing the ball, and he has the variation of being a left armer as well. So, everything you would want from a fast bowler, he has it.”
“So, I’m with you (on Afridi’s absence). I think that every top order in this competition, not just the Indian top order who are susceptible to the ball coming back, I think that they will be delighted that he isn’t there and it gives them a greater chance of winning the tournament.”
(Inputs from IANS)