'Pandya will look after T20I team but we are sticking to Babar': Ex-PAK star takes dig at PCB, cites MS Dhoni's example
The former Pakistan cricketer feels Babar Azam should endorse MS Dhoni's style of leadership. The ex-cricketer also claimed that Pakistan are ‘shielding’ senior players.
New Zealand were the top-ranked side when the Black Caps toured India for the three-match One Day International (ODI) against Rohit Sharma and Co. in January. The Kiwis arrived in India after defeating Babar Azam-led Pakistan in their previous away assignment. However, the high-flying New Zealand side failed to extend their winning run in ODIs as the visitors suffered back-to-back defeats to Team India in the three-match series.
While Pakistan suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the then-top-ranked side, arch-rivals India upstaged New Zealand twice to take an unassailable 2-0 lead over the visitors in the three-match series. Talking about the contrasting performances of the Asian giants against New Zealand, former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria slammed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and questioned the board's decision to stick with Babar as the all-format captain of the side.
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"India have made it clear that Hardik Pandya will look after the T20I team as they move in a new direction without Rohit and Kohli. But here we are sticking to Babar Azam across formats and not changing our teams at all. This is because the players are afraid to get dropped. Once the fear creeps in, the team starts getting on the decline. You will need to take tough calls if you want to make a competitive team," Kaneria said.
Recalling MS Dhoni's unparalleled contribution to Indian cricket, the former Pakistan cricketer opined that India became a 'good fielding side' under the leadership of the former Indian skipper. The former cricketer and full-time pundit feels that Pakistan should endorse Dhoni's style of leadership and avoid 'shielding senior players'.
“MS Dhoni had a young team in the T20 World Cup and he won with a good fielding side. He has made it clear later that instead of seniors, he wanted players who may score just 15-20 with bat but also stop 15-20 runs in the field. This is the thinking that you need, but we don't learn. We are going backward and shielding our senior players,” Kaneria observed.
With India securing the New Zealand series on Saturday, the former Pakistan spinner credited the hosts for playing fearless cricket against the Black Caps. The Men In Blue will meet New Zealand in the third and final ODI on Tuesday. "India played fearless cricket and batters like Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan backed their natural game with just 109 to get. They finished the game in 20 overs, not like us who would have stretched the game in a bid to make just personal runs. You need to put opposition under pressure and that's exactly what India did," Kaneria concluded.