Sanjay Manjrekar disagrees with Ramiz Raja, fires fresh warning to Pakistan as Babar Azam and Co. fight for WC survival | Crickit
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Sanjay Manjrekar disagrees with Ramiz Raja, fires fresh warning to Pakistan as Babar Azam and Co. fight for WC survival

By, New Delhi
Jun 14, 2024 03:07 PM IST

Disagreeing with Ramiz Raja, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has warned Babar Azam’s Pakistan ahead of its must-win clash.

Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has expressed his reservations about Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan opening the innings for Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Two of the finest batters in the current Pakistani roster, Babar and Rizwan, have opened for the Green Army in two World Cup games. Recently, Babar and Rizwan received the support of former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) president Ramiz Raja, who backed the premier batters to spearhead the top order of the 2009 champions.

Manjrekar and Ramiz recently shared their views about Pakistan's top-order (Getty Images-AP-ANI)
Manjrekar and Ramiz recently shared their views about Pakistan's top-order (Getty Images-AP-ANI)

Ramiz mentioned batting icons Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma while endorsing Babar and Rizwan as Pakistan's first opening choice for the ICC event. According to Ramiz, openers Rizwan and Babar don't have strike rates that match those of Kohli and Rohit. However, the Pakistan batters offer reliability by giving their side a promising start in the powerplay. Interestingly, Pakistan's only win at the T20 World Cup arrived after Babar was demoted to the No.3 position.

ALSO READ: Strike rates of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma not guaranteed: Ramiz Raja's no-nonsense take on openers Babar and Rizwan

'Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan can't be opening together'

Does that mean Pakistan can part ways with the Babar-Rizwan opening pair in the T20 World Cup? Manjrekar believes the premier batters can't open for the Asian giants in the 2024 edition. The former India cricketer welcomed Pakistan's decision to give Babar the No.3 position in its previous game against Canada. "I'm glad they have made a change in the batting order. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan can't be opening together. Both of them were not really keen to strike early, so they put somebody else in at the top. Left-hand, right-hand combination is not such a bad thing. So some good things happening there," Manjrekar told Star Sports.

'Batting is still a bit of a concern'

Babar scored 44 off 43 balls while Rizwan perished for 9 off 8 balls against the USA in Pakistan's T20 World Cup opener. The duo only added 26 runs for the first wicket against India in Pakistan's 6-run defeat in New York. Pakistan are fighting for survival after losing two matches in Group A. Babar and Co. will meet Ireland in a must-win clash on Sunday. "Batting is still a bit of a concern. Mohammad Amir is coming into his own. So I see them just being better than Ireland to win the game. But once they get into the Super Eight, that is going to be another sort of acid test for them because they are not looking as good as some of the other teams that have gone through," Manjrekar added.

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