Babar Azam, the captain of Peshawar Zalmi, is upset with his performance because it was insufficient to advance his team to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight final.
Babar said that while his campaign was successful on an individual level, it would have felt greater if his efforts had contributed to his team’s victory. He also loved the many environments and thrilling games.
“It was a good journey, but unfortunately, we couldn’t finish. We didn’t perform as well as we should have but made a comeback in the second half, and everyone tried to learn and gave their 100 percent,” said Babar Azam in the post-match press conference.
“As a captain, it’s important to share experience and give confidence to youngsters. I set my goal in this PSL to register top performances, but I feel good performances are those that help the team win. As an individual, I enjoyed the tournament, we got different wickets at each venue, and there were many entertaining matches. I am sure fans would have enjoyed the games too, and there is a lot of talent in Pakistan; it’s just that we need to groom them. Saim Ayub is a great prospect,” he added.
Looking back on the second elimination round, he believed that losing wickets in the middle of the field didn’t assist their situation, and their bowling strategies were less effective than they had been in the first game.
“Ball comes nicely in the first ten overs, but then bowlers get help, and the ball doesn’t come nicely; it reverses a bit too. The key is not to lose back-to-back wickets because hitting straightaway for a new batter is difficult. But we should give credit to the Lahore bowlers who bowled according to the field and situation, and they were able to restrict us to 170. I think we had enough total on this pitch, and the bowling was fantastic, but we couldn’t execute our bowling plans the same way we did yesterday and a little bit wayward bowling (didn’t help our cause),” said Babar Azam.
Younger players like Mohammad Haris and Saim Ayub should play in a variety of settings to develop their skills, according to the 28-year-old. He underlined the value of fostering youth confidence and experience sharing.
“We sent Mohammad Haris to open, but then we changed our planning against Lahore and went with a left-right combination given how Shaheen gives a tough time to right-handers, and that is why we changed our combination a little bit, and Haris responded positively to the shuffle in the batting line-up, and this is what we are trying to inculcate in our players which is to perform in different scenarios and play according to the match situation, and I think our youngsters have developed this trait in themselves in this tournament.
“The wicket was not two-paced, there was a bit of uneven bounce for the fast bowlers, and the ball reverses here in Lahore after ten overs. It is nice when a youngster plays with you and dominates. Communication is very important when batting in the middle, and I try to communicate with them and give them confidence. Happy with the form but disappointed that it didn’t help the team win. I will look back and see what I can do better,” said Babar Azam.
Lahore Qalandars, who have advanced to the PSL final three times in the past four seasons, will play Multan Sultans once more this year.