'Where do you rate these three? You can't even rate them in Pakistan': Aaqib Javed's brutal takedown of batting trio
The former Pakistan bowler didn't mince his words as he talked about the side's batting trio ahead of Asia Cup 2022.
Pakistan had recently announced their squad for the Asia Cup 2022, that saw the notable omission of Shoaib Malik. Instead, Pakistan chose to bring players like Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Khushdil Shah in the middle-order, and captain Babar Azam backed the trio in a recent press conference before the side's departure for Netherlands, where Pakistan plays three ODIs before the continental tournament in the UAE.
“When senior players leave the side, those replacing them need focus. (Mohammad) Hafeez and Malik were huge players and we'll miss them a lot, and players like Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar (Ahmed) need to fill their boots,” Babar had said.
Also read: 'Do we have one person who can do that? Will PCB take such a step?': Ex-Pakistan captain applauds BCCI's unique decision
However, former Pakistan cricketer Aaqib Javed isn't too optimistic about the presence of the trio, insisting that they don't inspire the similar levels of confidence in the middle-order as their predecessors, like former captains Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Mohammad Yousuf among others.
“We don't have players like Younis Khan, Inzamam, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik or Mohammad Hafeez. They were consistent throught 10-12 years. They were among top-10 around the world with consistency. When you talk about the middle-order now, we have Asif Ali, Khushdil, Iftikhar.. where will you rate these three? You can't even rate them in Pakistan,” Aaqib said in an interaction with paktv.tv.
“Why do we call Babar Azam the best in the world? Because he is no.1 in the ICC rankings. Whenever he bats, we feel safe. If you take a look at the whole team, we have Imam-ul-Haq, who has proved that he has talent and temperament. Babar is there. Rizwan is there in T20s. In all three formats, we only have Babar who has proved himself. I can't remember any other name. If you look at India or any other top team, you will see 5-6-7 players who are consistently in top-10 or top-20 in all three formats. This is the reason for the gap,” he said further.
Aaqib also says there are no back-ups for the trio, that could land Pakistan in trouble.
“The moment these guys lose confidence, we don't have any other batter for gap. Because we only have these three. We don't have any other choice. We didn't develop any other batter and I don't think they even pay attention to it,” he said.