For Pakistan to go the distance in T20 World Cup, Babar Azam will be the key: Waqar Younis
Lahore, July 11 (IANS) Pakistan skipper Babar Azam will have to play the pivotal role if they are to win the upcoming edition of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November this year, feels legendary pace bowler from the country Waqar Younis.
The legendary 50-year-old cricketer, who has a total of 789 wickets in Tests and ODIs, also opined that Pakistan have a really good chance of going the distance after bowing out in the semifinal stage in the previous edition of the showpiece tournament in the UAE last year.
Pakistan are currently ranked third on the ICC Men's T20I Team Rankings and will travel to Australia full of confidence after some good results in the shortest format of the game over the last 12 months.
The team has two of the best T20 batters in the world in Babar Azam and right-hander Mohammad Rizwan, and Younis feels that with such great performers in the side, it bodes well for a strong showing in the World Cup.
"We stand a really good chance of doing well at this World Cup," Waqar told ICC Digital in Melbourne. "The pitches in Australia are generally very good batting pitches and Pakistan do have good batters who can really play well in these conditions. Babar is definitely going to be the key batter at the top of the order," said Younis, known for his toe-crushing yorkers.
"I think he (Babar) will have the impact that he has always had and then of course Rizwan is playing very well and the bowling attack they have got it one of the best in the world."
Shaheen Shah Afridi, injuries notwithstanding, will continue to lead the bowling unit with proven performers such as right-armer Haris Rauf and the spin duo of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.
"We have tried about six or seven fast bowlers in the last year or so and they are all going really well," said Waqar. "I feel that Haris Rauf and Shaheen (Afridi) will be pivotal, but let's not forget Hasan Ali either as he has been bowling very decent. Pakistan's fast bowling attack is very good and they can mix it up with Shadab and Nawaz as they are good spinners also."
The champion pacer, who played alongside the likes of Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Javed Miandad in his 14-year international career, also said that it was premature of cricket pundits to draw comparisons between Babar Azam and some of the country's greats.
"Babar Azam in modern-day cricket looks a million dollars and he is definitely as good as all the big names. But all those greats have their own strengths and their own class and all of them played in different eras and we should not forget that.
"Babar is still very young and has plenty of cricket ahead of him and once he has retired you can perhaps sit down and start comparing him with others," he added.