PSL8: It’s clearly Babar’s fault

Hello, good morning sports fans I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. Sports fans, we need to have a chat about an issue in the world of sports, to be more precise the cricket world, the world of PSL.

The PSL, respectfully alongside the BBL, are the two best T20 franchise tournaments after the Godfather of this format, the IPL. The Pakistan Super League, which is in its eighth edition, has been a very evenly contested tournament so far.

Whereas last year, the Multan Sultans had a nearly flawless record, defending champions Lahore Qalanders, Shadab Khan’s Islamabad United were leading the way at the top of the PSL table.

Multan Sultans, winners of the PSL two years ago, are right back in contention with two wins in the space of two days. Dare I say it, but it appears the top three places have arguably been sealed.

Maybe the three sides won’t finish in that order, but the three teams will be through to the play-off eliminator. Babar Azam’s Peshawar Zalmi, are currently occupying the fourth and final playoff spot, and are four points further back.

Admittedly I haven’t watched as much of the tournament as I would have liked, (parenting duties getting in the way), but from what I have seen of the tournament, matches have been played competitively.

To bring the topic back to Pakistan captain Babar Azam. The Zalmi skipper is on one hand cricket’s equivalent of Graham Potter. The level of criticism this man gets!

He scores a hundred, no his hundred was scored too slowly in the back end, he’s the reason why Peshawar lost the game. In the very next game, the 28-year-old smacks a 70-odd with a 180 strike rate and his side still fail to win the game.

This kind of scapegoating is shameful. Babar Azam in Peshawar Zalmi’s last two games has had to go off. The captaincy duties went to Tom Kohler-Cadmore for a part of the game. Don’t misunderstand this, it’s not the fault of TKC either.

From the outside looking in, the small Rawalpindi boundaries may be a source of entertainment for some, but not for yours truly. These over-inflated scores are good once in a while, but so are the low-scoring thrillers.

As a captain, it’s near impossible to defend a total in Pindi and these short boundaries. Of course, Multan did it, but only because they had close to 250 on the board. Babar Azam, throughout his career, has a strike rate around the 130 mark.

That strike rate isn’t terrible. Players like Rovman Powell, Mohammed Harris and even Saim Ayub, they are the players who give the ball a whack around. On top of that, former skipper Wahab Riaz can hit a long ball too. So to ask Babar to play a game that’s not natural to him is not fair.

With the PSL, with all due respect to the IPL, all the participants have won the tournament at least once, the playing field a bit more level. With the IPL it’s very Mumbai and Chennai-dominated.

Also what’s likeable about the PSL is that the standard is improving. Note to the organisers, please sort the Rawalpindi boundaries out!

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